Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Orthodoxy and 'Papism'

Over the past year or so, we have occasionally touched on the suggestion that the continuing movement might better exercise any ecumenical inclinations it has by seeking an understanding with Orthodoxy. In the course of such discussions, it has often been stated that Anglicanism has perhaps more in common theologically with the East than it does with Rome.

As part of the inquiries that I have been making into Orthodoxy, I have been introduced to Hierotheos Vlachos, metropolitan of Nafpaktos in Greece. Perhaps best known for his book Orthodox Psychotherapy, Vlachos has also written a brief piece entitled Basic Points of Difference between the Orthodox Church and Papism.

While Metropolitan Vlachos is addressing differences between Orthodoxy and the Roman Catholic Church, he gives Anglicans an opportunity to set out their own beliefs and compare them to what he considers right belief and right worship. As we are fond of checklists on this blog, I will share with you his, and invite any comment that may be forthcoming. For ease of same, I shall edit the original by numbering the points listed.


The bishops of Old Rome, beside small and non-essential differences, always held communion with the bishops of New Rome (Constantinople) and the bishops of the East until the years 1009-1014, when, for the first time, the Frankish bishops seized the throne of Old Rome. Until the year 1009 the Popes of Rome and the Patriarchs of Constantinople were unified in a common struggle against the Frankish princes and bishops, already even at that time heretics.

The Franks at the Synod of Frankfurt in 794 condemned the decrees of the Seventh Ecumenical Synod and the honorable veneration of the holy icons. Likewise in 809 the Franks introduced into the Symbol of the Faith the “Filioque” (Latin: “and the Son”); namely, the doctrine concerning the procession of the Holy Spirit both from the Father and from the Son. Now at that time the Orthodox Pope of Rome condemned this imposition. At the Synod of Constantinople presided over by Photios the Great, at which also representatives of the Orthodox Pope of Rome participated, they condemned as many as had condemned the decrees of the Seventh Ecumenical Synod and as many as had added the Filioque to the Symbol of Faith. However, the Frankish Pope Sergius IV, in the year 1009, in his enthronement encyclical for the first time added the Filioque to the Symbol of Faith. Then Pope Benedict VIII introduced the Creed with the Filioque into the worship service of the Church, at which time the Pope was stricken out from the diptychs of the Orthodox Church.

The basic distinction between the Orthodox Church and Papism is found in the doctrine concerning the uncreated nature and uncreated energy of God. (My emphasis) Whereas we Orthodox believe that God possesses an uncreated nature and uncreated energy and that God comes into communion with the creation and with man by means of His uncreated energy, the Papists believe that in God the uncreated nature is identified with His uncreated energy (acrus purus) and that God holds communion with the creation and with man through His created energies, even asserting that in God there exist also created energies. So then the grace of God through which man is sanctified is seen as created energy. But given this, one cannot be sanctified.

From this basic doctrine proceeds the teaching concerning the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father and from the Son, the cleansing fire, the primacy of the Pope, etc.

Beside the fundamental difference between the Orthodox Church and Papism, in the theme of the nature and energy of God, there are other great differences which have given rise to topics of theological dispute, namely:

1. the Filioque, that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and from the Son with the result that the monarchy of the Father is diminished, the final equality of the Persons of the Holy Trinity is compromised, the Son is diminished in His own character in having been born, if there exists a oneness between Father and Son then the Holy Spirit is subordinated as not equal in power and of the same glory with the other Persons of the Holy Trinity, with the result that He is shown as the “unproductive (steiro) Person,”

2. the utilization of unleavened bread in the Divine Eucharist which transgresses the manner with which Christ accomplished the Mystical Supper,

3. the consecration of the “precious Gifts” which takes place not with the epiclesis, but rather with the proclamation of Christ’s words of institution, “Take, eat . . . drink of it, all of you . . .,”

4. the view that the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross satisfied the Divine justice, which presents God the Father as a feudal lord and which overlooks the resurrection,

5. the view about the “merits” of Christ which the Pope dispenses, along with the “superabundant” grace of the saints,

6. the alienation and segmentation placed between the mysteries of Baptism, Chrismation, and the Divine Eucharist,

7. the doctrine concerning the inheritance of guilt from the ancestral sin,

8. the liturgical innovations in all of the mysteries of the Church (Baptism, Chrismation, Ordination, Confession, Marriage, Anointing),

9. the practice of not communing the laity in the “Blood” of Christ,

10. the primacy of the Pope, according to which the Pope is “episcopus episcoporum (Latin: the bishop of bishops) and the origin of the priesthood and of ecclesiastical authority, that he is the infallible head and the principle leader of the Church, governing it in monarchical fashion as the vicar of Christ on the earth” (I. Karmires). With this concept the Pope views himself as the successor of the Apostle Peter, to whom the other Apostles submit themselves, even the Apostle Paul,

11. the non-existence of concelebration in the praxis of worship services,

12. the infallibility of the Pope,

13. the dogma of the immaculate conception of the Theotokos and the development of the worship of Mary (mariolatria), according to which the All-Holy Virgin is elevated to Triune Deity and even becomes a concept leading to a Holy Quaternity (!),

14. the views of analogia entis (analogy of being) and analogia fidei (analogy of faith) which hold sway in the West,

15. the unceasing progress of the Church in the discovery of the recesses of revelatory truth,

16. the concept concerning the single methodology for the knowledge of God and of creatures, which leads to a blending of theology and epistemology.

Moreover, the great difference in practice, which points out the manner of theology, is found also in the difference between Scholasticism and Hesychastic theology. In the West Scholasticism was expounded as an endeavor to search out the meaning of all the mysteries of the faith by means of logic (Anselm of Canterbury, Thomas Aquinas). However, in the Orthodox Church hesychasm prevails; namely, the purification of the heart and the illumination of the mind (nous), towards the acquisition of the knowledge of God. The dialogue between St. Gregory Palamas and Barlaam the scholastic and uniate is characteristic and shows the difference.

A consequence of all the foregoing is that we have in Papism a decline from Orthodox ecclesiology. Whereas in the Orthodox Church great significance is given to theosis which consists in communion with God, through the vision of the Uncreated Light, then those who behold the Light gather in an Ecumenical Synod and accurately define revelatory truth under conditions of confusion. But in Papism great significance is given to the edict of the Pope; indeed, the Pope even stands over these Ecumenical Synods. Consistent with Latin theology, “the authority of the Church exists only when it is established and put in good order by the will of the Pope. Under a contrary condition it is annihilated.” The Ecumenical Synods are seen as “councils of Christianity that are summoned under the authenticity, the authority, and the presidency of the Pope.” Whenever the Pope leaves the meeting hall of the Ecumenical Synod, it ceases to have power. Bishop Mare has written, “There would be no Roman Catholics more accurate as those exclaiming, “I believe also in one Pope” than who say “I believe also in one . . . Church.”

Furthermore, “the significance and role of the bishops within the Roman church is no more than a simple personification of the papal authority, to which also the bishops themselves submit just as also do the simple faithful.” Towards this papal ecclesiology it is essentially maintained that “the apostolic authority left off with the apostles and was not passed on to their successors, the bishops. Only the papal authority of Peter, under which all of the others are found, was passed on to the successors of Peter; namely, the popes.” Along with the foregoing it is maintained by the papal “church” that all the churches of the East are secessionist and have deficiencies. It receives us as sister churches into communion by dispensation (kat’ oikonomian), since she sees herself as the mother church and sees ourselves as daughter churches.

The Vatican is an earthly power (kratos) and each pope is the wielder of the power of the Vatican. It is a matter of a man-centered organization, a worldly, indeed an especially legalistic and worldly organization. The earthly power of the Vatican was instituted in the year 755 by Pepin the Short, the father of Charlemagne –even in our own time he was recognized by Mussolini, in 1929. The source of the proclamation of papal worldly power is significant, as Pope Pius XI maintained, “the one who stands in God’s stead on earth cannot be obedient to earthly power.” Christ was obedient to earthly power, the pope cannot be! The papal authority establishes a theocracy, since theocracy is defined as subsuming both worldly and ecclesiastical authority into one concept. Today we can see theocratic-worldly power in the Vatican and in Iran.

Pope Innocent IV (1198-1216) maintained the characteristic nature of these things in his enthronement speech, “He who has the bride has the bridegroom. However the bride herself (the church) has not been coupled with empty hands, but brings therein an incomparably rich dowry, the fullness of spiritual goods and the expanses of the world’s things, the largesse and abundance of both. . . . Your contributions of the worldly things has given me the diadem, the mitre over the priesthood, the diadem for kingdom and it has established me as His representative (antiprosopo), in the garment and on the knee of which it is written: the King of kings and Lord of lords.”

Consequently great theological differences exist, which have been condemned by the Synod of Photios the Great and at the Synod of Gregory Palamas, just as it appears in the “Synodikon of Orthodoxy.” In addition also the Fathers of the Church and the local synods down to the 19th century condemn all the deceits of papism. The issue is not mollified or improved by a certain typical excuse which the pope would give for an historical error, whenever his theological views were outside of the revelation and the eccesiology is moved into an enclosed course, since of course the pope presents himself as leader of the Christian world, as successor of the Apostle Peter and the Vicar-representative of Christ over the earth, as if Christ would give His authority to the pope and He cease ruling in blessing in the heavens.

62 comments:

poetreader said...

There is so much ink spent by both Orthodox and RC in attempting to justify the Schism, that I couldn't let this one go by without a lengthy comment. This will be long. My sympathies are usually closer to the East than to Rome, but the statement quoted is a typocal example of specious polemics from that side and requires a detailed answer. So ...

The bishops of Old Rome, beside small and non-essential differences, always held communion with the bishops of New Rome (Constantinople) and the bishops of the East until the years 1009-1014, when, for the first time, the Frankish bishops seized the throne of Old Rome. Until the year 1009 the Popes of Rome and the Patriarchs of Constantinople were unified in a common struggle against the Frankish princes and bishops, already even at that time heretics.

This is a highly debatable assertion. The Franks, from their first appearance on Christian history were unique among the Germanic people in taking a dirm stand for Orthodoxay and against Arianism. At a time when the various varieties of Goths were advancing the cause of Arianism and applying great pressure to the papacy, the Franks were their stainchest allies.

The Franks at the Synod of Frankfurt in 794 condemned the decrees of the Seventh Ecumenical Synod and the honorable veneration of the holy icons.

The Franks were not alone in temporarily falling for the iconoclast position. The major stronghold of this heresy was, for a considerable time, in the East, until, finally the 7th Council was accepted in all parts of the Catholic Church, including akmong the Franks. Charlemagne, a Frank crowned emperor merely 6 years later, was a fervent advocate of images.

Likewise in 809 the Franks introduced into the Symbol of the Faith the “Filioque” ...

How does he come to be so sure of the date? Historians argue over that. This is, however, certainly a contibnuing bone of contention.

... the Frankish Pope Sergius IV,

Excuse me? Everything I read of Sergius presents him as an Italian, born in Rome.

... at which time the Pope was stricken out from the diptychs of the Orthodox Church.

The relationship between Rome and the Eastern Chursh was on-again-off-again for centuries before that and after that, and the divisions and non-commemoration only became universal in fairly recent times.


The basic distinction between the Orthodox Church and Papism is found in the doctrine concerning the uncreated nature and uncreated energy of God. ...

How, exactly, does a philosophical argument not grounded in Scripture, nor insisted upon by a consensus of the Fathers become a basic doctrine which would justify separation? It matters little which side is closest to the actual truth, (I'm a bit more favorable to the East, but only tentatively so) when such a matter is largely speculation.

From this basic doctrine proceeds the teaching concerning the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father and from the Son, the cleansing fire, the primacy of the Pope, etc..

Huh? How does that follow?

1. the Filioque, ...

I agree that inserting Filioque into the Creed was a mistake. The reason appears to have been a nascent heresy which would have made the Spirit less than divine, but, nontheless, such a change in the ecumenical Symbol should be made only by consnet of the whole Church in Council. As for the issue itself: Scripture and Patristic testimony do not settle the question, and it is again largely a pholpsiphic debate, a speculation as to the understanding of the fundamentally incomprehensivble mystery of the Trinity.

2. the utilization of unleavened bread in the Divine Eucharist which transgresses the manner with which Christ accomplished the Mystical Supper,

Altogether bogus. As a matter of liturgical practice, both types of bread appear to have been used from the beginning. If the Eucharist was begun at a Passover meal, the bread was unleavened. If not, then perhaps it was leavened. No one fought over that before the schism. Orthodoxy today (though some Orthodox dispute the propriety of it) has an active Western Rite, in which ynleavened bread is being used.

3. the consecration of the “precious Gifts” which takes place not with the epiclesis, but rather with the proclamation of Christ’s words of institution, “Take, eat . . . drink of it, all of you . . .,”

The epiclesis is a good thing, expressing well some of what must be happening. Where, however, in Scripture is this point so much as mentioned?

4. the view that the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross satisfied the Divine justice, which presents God the Father as a feudal lord and which overlooks the resurrection,

Both sides have worked hard to define atonement in ways the finite mind simply cannot define it. To insist on one view over the other as being the absolute truth is not tenable.

5. the view about the “merits” of Christ which the Pope dispenses, along with the “superabundant” grace of the saints,

Though this rather errant idea has been pretty well established in the West, the Orthodox, in their attitude toward the saints, are very hard to distinguish from the Latins, and abusive attitudes verging toward superstion are at least as common in the East.

6. the alienation and segmentation placed between the mysteries of Baptism, Chrismation, and the Divine Eucharist,

A liturgical matter, not a doctrinal one. They are 3 separate things. Should they be administered together or separately?

7. the doctrine concerning the inheritance of guilt from the ancestral sin,

In both communions, the matter of what consitutes "origina; sin" or "fallnness" on the human nature is holty contested. Neither can be said to have a single viewpoint on the matter.

8. the liturgical innovations in all of the mysteries of the Church (Baptism, Chrismation, Ordination, Confession, Marriage, Anointing),

And what does he mean by this?

9. the practice of not communing the laity in the “Blood” of Christ,

That may be a problem -- but where in Scripture is the practice of intinction advocated? Tradition seems to leave the matter pretty open as far as practice goes, as the only Biblical pattern (Bread and Cup separately) seems to have been abandoned by both sides.

10. the primacy of the Pope, according to which the Pope is “episcopus episcoporum ...

Here is a legitimate place of disagreement, the real cause of the schism and its continuance.

11. the non-existence of concelebration in the praxis of worship services,

Dead letter under NO. A mere matter of practice anyway.

12. the infallibility of the Pope,

A further complication of the problem of the papacy.

13. the dogma of the immaculate conception of the Theotokos and the development of the worship of Mary (mariolatria), according to which the All-Holy Virgin is elevated to Triune Deity and even becomes a concept leading to a Holy Quaternity (!),

Here is deliberate calumny. Many Orthodox are convinced that the immaculate conception is true. The problem here is in its definition as dogma. Unless (as I thoroughly doubt) such foolish doctrines as Mary as mediatrix of all graces or as coredemptrix should be defined, the West actually has a more restrained offocial view of the Theotokos than does the East. The elevation of her into the Trinity is a slight invented by Muslims and falsely taken up by others who want to use it for polemics.

14. the views of analogia entis (analogy of being) and analogia fidei (analogy of faith) which hold sway in the West,

This is a pretty subtle philosophical argument on which to buils a breach in the Body of Christ.

15. the unceasing progress of the Church in the discovery of the recesses of revelatory truth,

I do find a problem in Rome's attitude here, finding it not very different, actually, from that of the Liberal Protestants, but Orthodoxy, regardless of its protestations, has not been static either. There has been much definition since the schism of things that were not insisted upn before.

16. the concept concerning the single methodology ...

Need some explanation of what he meand by this.

... the difference between Scholasticism and Hesychastic theology....

Does one or the other have to be wrong? Or might there be more than one way of thinking about a single revelation?

Ultimately, there is no real essential difference between East and West but the status of the Papacy. There are differences of philosophy, of practice, and of administration, which differences existed before the schism and should rightly be no barrier to trpaor of the schism. Both sides are guilty, severely so, of raising and magnifying issues in order to justify the separation. It cannot be nustified. In a reunited Church, I do believe Anglicans would occupy a midway position in style of thinking and operation, strongly influensed by both, and by an appreciation of what united the two "worlds" before the tragedy.

ed

Fr. Robert Hart said...

The Metropolitan is not setting forth Orthodoxy, but modern trends among some Orthodox. Just as the Latin Rite enthusiasts (small "e") want to read their current trends into the past, so do a certain kind of the modern Orthodox. Does the Metropolitan really think that the issue of Divine Energies was a major issue of division in ancient times? Can he actually prove his assertion here about the nature of Western theology at all? Can he show from history any evidence that helps his theory that this alleged difference led to the teachings of the Rome that followed, rather than showing that his own mind is working backwards in history? Does he really believe that the Orthodox are the followers of St. Gregory of Palamas, a man who was almost completely forgotten until his rediscovery in the 19th century? The answer to all of the above, I dare say, is not only no; it is hell no.

His point about St. Anselm, shows the typical misreading and polemic nonsense about his work that is really fashionable, "pop" theology and trendy too. St. Anselm, if you read his actual works, does not show the Father as a feudal lord, because the Divine Law that judged mankind as lost in sin was as much the Law of the Son and the Spirit as the law of the Father. It was not a wrathful God, but the reality of justice and holiness that God, by the will of the whole Trinity, would not simply overlook. In my upcoming book I have much to say about why we need the Biblical doctrine of Atonement, and turn from it at the peril of losing everything. I will quote one little part here:

"The subject of Atonement has been treated to many theoretical arguments, and even to outright skepticism and denunciation. One modern school within the Orthodox Church has occasional spokesmen, claiming authority to represent Orthodoxy itself, so extreme as to deny that they believe in any doctrine of the Atonement. Usually less extreme, however, this particular school nonetheless charges that Cur Deus Homo by St. Anselm stands in contradiction to the doctrine of theosis, and that in this book God is presented as having his wrath appeased, not in symbolic or metaphorical language of scripture, but in actual fact. The criticism, summarized briefly, is that St. Anselm presents a God who is not impassible, and perhaps may be subject to emotion and may, therefore, be capricious. Against this charge, my own brother (a fine theologian of the Orthodox Church) has written a defense of St. Anselm as a writer whose work does not contradict Orthodoxy, and that is consistent with the works of St. Gregory of Nyssa. The assertion that a typical western emphasis on atonement must contradict the doctrine of theosis lacks merit, and creates a false tension. The task of keeping doctrine in balance is a necessary part of the work that theologians do. To remove the hope of the glorification of believers, the hope of seeing God, and being divinized by his grace, is not the result of understanding what the Bible means when it presents atonement as an essential part of the Gospel. Rather, this is part of the path that must be followed if ever we are to approach so glorious an end. This is because we must begin where we are, in the fallen creation that groans yet under the weight of sin and death, longing for the manifestation of the sons of God. We may begin our thinking and teaching with that manifestation, and concentrate on it so exclusively as to be, ultimately, excluded from its reality.

"Furthermore, what matters, in the long run, for purposes of our consideration is not what St. Anselm meant by atonement, or what typical western theologians mean by it. What does matter is what this word and its related concepts mean in the pages of Holy Scripture, where its use and significance were inspired by the Holy Spirit. What lesson do we draw out of the Bible in continuity with the teaching of the Apostolic and Patristic Church..?"

In short, the above list by the Metropolitan shows why we must be be on a Via Media between Rome and Orthodoxy just as much as we are between Papism and (sound, traditional) Evangelicalism.

An Anglican Cleric said...

Well said, Father Hart.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Albion, you've certainly been doing some heavy reading!

Have you seen this on liberal Christianity's inevitable demise from Archbishop Hilarion? http://orthodoxeurope.org/#19-2-445

John said...

Poetreader Says:
"he elevation of her into the Trinity is a slight invented by Muslims and falsely taken up by others who want to use it for polemics."

Do I understand you to deny that RC's proclaim Mary as equal to Jesus?

If so I repeat to remind you that I, for one, have witnessed by hearing and seeing this 'doctrine' promulgated on EWTN by RC Clergy on at least two occasions in the last two years. Which is to say it was a program that was scripted, engineered, produced, distributed and broadcast by Roman Catholics on Roman Catholic TV under the supervision of Roman Catholics without challenge by the Vatican or any lower authority. No accident.

Now you can accuse me of slander but I did not make this up I am only stating for the record that what many of the Bob Jones variety have used as a polemic for years is in fact true. This is grounds not only for concern about the relationship between the Orthodox and Rome but between the TAC and Rome of which you and I belong. Blindness to an issue such as this suggests a deep spiritual blindness that need be shunned as this is exactly the blindness that overwhelmed TEC starting in 76 with WO. Heresy is heresy and ignoring it is condoning it.

I am not alone in the recognition of this 'school' in the RCC many RC laity who are scandalized have left the RCC for other churches over this problem and I can put you in touch with some.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Ed wrote:
The elevation of [Mary] into the Trinity is a slight invented by Muslims and falsely taken up by others who want to use it for polemics.

I see that one of our readers who identifies himself as "John" has prepared a reply to Ed. John says that he saw something on EWTN that supposedly proves that the real doctrine of the RCC is that Mary is "equal to Jesus." I don't know what John is smoking, but I do know that that is the richest bit of pure hogwash, B.S. and hate mongering I have seen in a long time. Obviously, he missed the context of anything that he thinks he heard, because no RC could teach that without being silenced for heresy.

The official teaching of Rome is not secret, but publicly stated. If they had a secret teaching, I don't think they would air it on TV.

Sober up, John.

poetreader said...

First I need to post yet another apology for the terrible typing that sometimes makes my comments hard to read. This software does not allow easy correction of comments, or I'd fix them.

Having said that, I have to observe, regarding the Metropolitan, and also John, and so many others with whom I've attempted to have discussions, that it appears that for many people it is far easier to talk about what they oppose, what makes them angry or suspicious, than it is to posiyively exopress just what it is that they hold important. I've fallen into that trap myself. What the Metropolitan expresses is not a statement of Orthodox belief, but a statement of anti-Romanism. The fact that I am usually in strong sympathy with the Eastern Orthodox way of thinking and theologizing does not mean I have to define what the RCC reaches in the way an anti-Roman bishop does so, or that I need to believe that diffe5rent views are necessarily in opposition to each other. Frankly, without both the Eastern and Western viewpoints, the Church comes to assert a partial Gospel, therefore not a Catholic one.

Prejudice and anger are not sound ways to approach another. A truly listening heart will be seeking to find the way to real unity, rather than to exaggersate differences.

ed

Alice C. Linsley said...

A truly listening heart... that means standing firm on the Truth once delivered, but also never failing in Love. No wonder it is so difficult to be obedient to Jesus Christ!

Anonymous said...

"Frankly, without both the Eastern and Western viewpoints, the Church comes to assert a partial Gospel, therefore not a Catholic one."

I know of an Orthodox bishop, OCA, retired, who says something similar -- they are completed in each other or something like that. But I'm curious to hear more specifically what you mean when you say that. Is it another way of positing anglo-catholicism as the expression of both or do you mean something else?

Sean

poetreader said...

What I mean is that East and West approach a single Catholic Faith with different philosophical viewpoints, different ways of thinking. If either humanly devised approach is sufficient to express the Faith, then the faith is far less than an expression of incomprehensible reality. To insist on one approach to the exclusion of the other is to settle for an inadequate and incomplete religion. Anglicanismn, at least from the time of the Caroline divines, has been well-situated to hear and attempt to utilize both approaches. While other theologians, both Roman and Eastern have begunto look in that kind of direction, it has not historically set easily on either.

In short, I fully believe that very few of the distinctive doctrinal statements of either are actually in contradiction to those of the other. The truth really comes only from holding the two in tension.

ed

John said...

Fr, Hart,
With all due respect I find it interesting that you would resort to character assignation rather than checking out the veracity of what I witnessed before condemning me with a statement such as what I may be smoking. I prefer a Sumatran wrapper and a 54 ring size but I fail to see how that obscures the truth.
I remind you that it was me who you also had similar remarks for when I informed you on this blog that the AMiA was ordaining or accepting ordinations of women through the back door of their parent church in Rwanda while claiming otherwise. You poo pooed that observation as well. Check your records.

EWTN did make the broadcast plain and simple.

I would never have believed it if I had not seen it with my own eyes. Now you can slander me but that does not change the fact.

I read a lot of comments here condemning ad hominem attacks, you ought live by your own standard.

I made no claim of a secrecy, it was broadcast to millions. As to the context I watched the whole program. The priest was Philippino and the show was recorded there.

Sober? Smoking? Just because you do not like the testimony does not mean it is false.

As to doctrine, I don't care what is written, it is what is practiced that counts. Surely you have been awake over the last thirty or forty years to observe that principle in action with TEC. Watch the hands not the mouth.

Shame on you.

John Dixon
St Athanasius ACA

John said...

and also John, and so many others with whom I've attempted to have discussions,

Ed
No need to use me as a straw man here, I am not angry or suspicious, I have no need to be either. I made my claim the veracity of which can be checked without a lot of trouble. I am not angry at the RCC it is not my church. My point is to make sure you see the whole picture my friend.

If your argument is based on the hypothetical you ought not get flustered by the reality of a fact even when that fact makes your argument weaker or makes you uncomfortable.

If it is discussion you want give me a call I would be happy to hear from you and you can grill me about my account to your hearts desire.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Ed, for fleshing that out.

Sean

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Until reading the comments I was not aware that John is John Dixon. Furthermore, I did not "poo-poo" what he said about the AMiA, but checked the facts and verified the weakness in their armor.

Nonetheless, the teaching of the RCC is stated in their Catechism, with which I mostly agree. EWTN or anybody else can say whatever they want, but that does not change the teaching of the RCC, nor do all of their programs represent it. They are not an official organ anyway. I know that some of their teachers are clumsy, and express themselves in a foolish manner.

Even so, it is not possible for someone to teach that Mary is equal to Jesus without being silenced for heresy by the authority of the pope himself. Equal to Jesus would mean that she too would be God. What John must have misunderstood was an emphasis on the belief that her role in human salvation is equal to the role of Christ's own human nature. That is not the same thing. And, before your knees jerk in reaction, let me explain what that means.

The only revelation we have from God is the revelation of the Gospel (even the Law is a subordinate and necessary part of the Gospel). The first mention of the Gospel is Genesis 3:15. "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." The revelation God has given in his Son, and that revelation is the Incarnation. Without the Incarnation we have no Jesus the man, no atonement, no resurrection, no hope of glorification. Without the Incarnation we have no hope, but only sin and death. The Incarnation made it necessary for God to have a mother. Therefore, without Mary we have no salvation, for God's only revelation was, by the eternal counsel of his will, to save us through the seed of the woman.

As the Council of Chalcedon says, in the letter of Pope Leo: "His inward ear should also have heard Isaiah preaching Behold, a virgin will receive in the womb and will bear a son, and they will call his name Emmanuel, which is translated "God is with us". With faith he should have read the same prophet's words, A child is born to us, a son is given to us. His power is on his shoulders. They will call his name 'Angel of great counsel, mighty God, prince of peace, father of the world to come.' Then he would not deceive people by saying that the Word was made flesh in the sense that he emerged from the virgin's womb having a human form but not having the reality of his mother's body...To pay off the debt of our state, invulnerable nature was united to a nature that could suffer; so that in a way that corresponded to the remedies we needed, one and the same mediator between God and humanity the man Christ Jesus, could both on the one hand die and on the other be incapable of death. Thus was true God born in the undiminished and perfect nature of a true man, complete in what is his and complete in what is ours. By "ours" we mean what the Creator established in us from the beginning and what he took upon himself to restore."

Also from Chalcedon we have this: "...like us in all respects except for sin; begotten before the ages from the Father as regards his divinity, and in the last days the same for us and for our salvation from Mary, the virgin God-bearer as regards his humanity."

So then , how would our salvation have been possible without Mary? Every necessary part of anything attains an essential measure without which it cannot stand. In this sense, and in this sense only, equality would be quite true. But, the emphasis remains this: "The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us."

I can well imagine that the unnamed priest had said something that means this, and said it poorly.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

By the way, John, I do apologize for making my first reaction unnecessarily offensive. I am a sinner. Forgive me.

John said...

Our Salvation was made possible by God and God alone : "And was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary." Mary did not of herself make the child Jesus possible, even having her purity of heart and living- but she had no idea until the annunciation.
The Creed is the best description, no need to look further... the clear bottom line.

I do recall the priest saying that MAry should be the only focus of worship and prayer. He did say she was equal to Jesus. I can not recall the exact words but I do recall my slack jaw.

Fr. I am a plain spoken man and sometimes gets me in hot water but I saw and heard what I saw and heard. I do don't buy into flying saucers, the return of Elvis, leprechauns or Hillary's health plan, so I consider myself lucid. I may not be as edg-u-matated as you but I generally understand the English language.

Now you spin what you plainly did not hear by the reach "What John must have misunderstood" but until you go and listen to the broadcast you are just guessing and in cases of testimony first hand always trumps a guess.

You think I'd make a claim like this on THIS blog with you guys and all the RCC apologists if I was making this up??? Be like swimming of the Great Barrier Reef with a raw steak strapped to me. Funny how they are strangely silent eh Father? You guys would be all over me and you have but not with any facts to refute the claim.

Look if I see the program again and it should be replayed, I'll tape it. If I am right you owe me a snort and a good cigar and we will see what I am drinkin' and smokin' then ok?

ANd BTW you did say you were sure I was wrong on the AMiA and then acknowledged it latter upon investigation. The issue as I brought to your attention was Christ Church Plano and their Rector declaring he had decided on the AMiA specifically because of the backdoor issue and declared it so Dick Kim's list. Which by the way has dropped me because I am an Anglo Catholic and constantly bring up the WO issue. That ought be good for some credibility around here!

Any way I forgive the attack but I am glad to bet a lunch with anybody that my account is plain and accurate. Any takers?

jd

Fr. Robert Hart said...

John, that is simply not RC doctrine, and it is you, attorney for the prosecution, that has the burden of proof. Have you read their Catechism? No human being (other than the incarnate Lord himself) is considered equal to God by anyone other than Mormons. If some priest had said such a thing, he would be in very real hot water with Rome. I am no RC apologist, as you know. But, I know what just ain't possible.

Anonymous said...

Both Fr Hart and John Dixon are correct. Saying Mary and Jesus are equal is NOT official RC doctrine.
But all churches have clergy who make egregious over-statements, and like John Dixon I have heard such stuff frequently on EWTN. (I recall hearing James Aiken stating caegorically that Sen. Edward Kennedy had joined the Episcopal Church!) Such extreme Mariology (aptly called Mariolatry) is rampant in the RC Church, even if not "official doctrine." It should be of concern to any doctrinally sensitive members of TAC/ACA. John Dixon's instincts are sound.
Laurence K. Wells

Nathan said...

Apparently there is enough percieved bad religion going on at EWTN to write a book about it. Visit the link below.

http://www.networkgonewrong.org/

Fr. Robert Hart said...

No doubt about it. EWTN is as embarrassing to educated RCs as ++RW is to people who go by the name Anglican.

John said...

Fr.

This is not about whether I have read their catechism but whether THEY read their catechism!!!

pax

jd

John said...

Thanks Lawrence,

I'll get that check right out to you ;-)!

Fr. Robert Hart said...

This is not about whether I have read their catechism but whether THEY read their catechism!!!

Then you no longer claim that the crazy doctrine you mentioned is the teaching of the RCC. That's progress.

Anonymous said...

Nathan,

You might actually take the time to read some of the content at the "networkgonewrong" address you included in your comment. The author of the book and his approving readers are ultra-traditionalist RC's who believe EVERYONE outside the RC Church has an express ticket to hell. I'd take everything they say with a grain of salt - I do and I'm a very conservative Roman Catholic.

John said...

Sure I can because teaching comes by of preaching and or media. The Catechism is printed and also it is broadcast in a series on EWTN. The very same media and broadcaster also broadcasts the teaching I witnessed and as Nathan has pointed out a lot of other weird stuff as well.
My point is as long as it is allowed to go on by the RCC hhierarchy it has legitimacy simply because it is unchallenged. Reading the link below the author of the book (which I am going to buy) seems to make the same point. The very fact it goes unchallenged (like I said where are all our RCC apologists right now) is very dangerous. It seems EWTN has an agenda on track with episcopalianism. I'll grant you the teaching differs from the printed catechism and as such may give you and others some comfort as to your correctness, in the meantime though the devil is eating their lunch on their dime.
People are being taught. SO at best we have two catechisms one 'official' and one unofficial but the unofficial is on TV and that makes it much easier to absorb. I do not think we need to hash over the effects of the boob tube on the general population.

John said...

A bit more...

The teaching of the seminaries of the Episcopal Church were teaching two different religions.
In my parish I new the teaching of the BCP. When the priestess came to town she taught a different gospel, most bought into it. Same thing with EWTN. They have the superior teaching tool and their agenda will be taught- and is. It is upto the Vatican to stop it if they do not then they endorse it by their inaction. Same thing in ECUSA... how many stood by twiddling thumbs when the illegal ordinations went down in 76? Bam it was done and never undone.

Fr Matthew Kirby said...

Having visited the anti-EWTN site, I'm afraid I have more sympathy with EWTN than this particular anti-Vatican II, Novus Ordo-condemning, Feeneyite critic. Despite the fact that EWTN may have some weird or heterodox content, I do not believe any foolishness on it really shows that either the RCC or the vast majority of its members believe Mary and Jesus are properly equal. What is fair to say is that Our Lady's and Our Lord's human natures are in a certain sense equal, as He is "Man, of the Substance of his Mother" (Athanasian Creed). He is the "seed of the Woman" (cf. Gen. 3.15), the New Man born of the New Eve. It is on this level that there is an equivalence, not on the level of Christ's Divine Person and Nature, which Mary obviously did NOT share.

John said...

Oh Fr. Kirby,

I have never seen you therefore you can not exist.


That is the summation of your underlying notion.

Changes nothing about the content of EWTN.

If the guy wrote a book it ought be easily refuted point by point. But hey, he is an "ultra conservative" :-o! so says "anonymous" and therefore 'can not be trusted and you should pay them no mind'!

Where have any of us heard those 'reassuring' sentiments before... hmmm.

We all know about those nasty 'ultra conservatives'! In fact according to TEC- WE are all "ultra-conservastives"! Haha! Hey that makes the guy good in my book. Thanks anon for making the case this guy is likely shooting straight.

A Simple Sinner said...

Poetreader -

Just a heads-up... When reading Orthodox critiques of the Catholic Church - very snidely slurred as "Papism here" - for ease of reference always understand that "Scholasticism" and "Frankish" are meant to be shorthand for "bad"...

Deriding "the Franks" is (for reasons unclear to me) acceptable bigotry in the East. Calling all Western thought "Legalist" or "Scholasticism" is also acceptable however inaccurate or somewhat ironic. (Think we are legalist? Listen to the arguments made about jurisdiction... or the debates on wether or not Catholic priests are even priests!)

His screed is remarkably tired an unoriginal.

Albion Land said...

May I suggest to John and others that the EWTN conversation is going nowhere? John maintains that a Filipino priest said something about the nature of the BVM that is contrary to the doctrine of the RCC; Fr Hart has pointed out that had he done so the Vatican would have come down on him like a tonne of bricks.

We don't know what the man said -- and unless someone provides us with a transcript or a video link we are not going to. Therefore, this argument could go on forever without being resolved.

Therefore, until such time as we have a transcript or a video link, which should be sent to me privately for separate posting, I hereby declare closed any further discussion here of the BVM and how she may or may not be understood by those who produce, participate in or watch EWTN.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Whether or not the Orthodox Church is mystical against the "Western" Church being scholastic(all of us in the "West" are the proper targets of the Metropolitan), all depends on which writers you choose for your examples. Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon, Orthodox, once turned the tables by comparing "western" mystics to "eastern" scholastics- of which there have been several.

It also depends on making St. Thomas Aquinas the archetype of all "western" religious thought, and the Palamite (as I said, only rediscovered in the 19th century- go figure) as the archetype "eastern" thinker.

These anti-western tracts always boil down to setting up and shooting down straw men. It's quite a past time with some members of the Orthodox Church who are currently caught up in this fad. I can't wait till it passes away,and they rediscover that the essence of Orthodoxy is Christianity, not anti-western sentiments.

A Simple Sinner said...

"It also depends on making St. Thomas Aquinas the archetype of all "western" religious thought, and the Palamite (as I said, only rediscovered in the 19th century- go figure) as the archetype "eastern" thinker.

AMEN! If you want to see such polemecists really squirm, start discussing the canonized saints of the Ukrainian Church (St. Peter Moghila of Kiev immediately comes to mind) who were roundly affirming of "Western" theologies.

These anti-western tracts always boil down to setting up and shooting down straw men. It's quite a past time with some members of the Orthodox Church who are currently caught up in this fad. I can't wait till it passes away,and they rediscover that the essence of Orthodoxy is Christianity, not anti-western sentiments."

I would like for this to be the case as well - sadly any number of enthusiastic convert clergyman seem to have fully embraced certain contra-distinctive tendancies and arguments and present them - all too often - as the definative stance when in fact much of it can be seen as little more than personal speculation.

A Simple Sinner said...

The fact that a metropolitan archbishop would pen a screed like this is exceedingly sad to begin with. One wonders about the level of scholarship - is it simply not there, or is polemic simply preferred?

I am trying to picture +Kasper sitting down to write a book entitled "Basic Points of Difference between the Catholic Church and Fermentarianism"

Albion Land said...

Of course, this raises an interesting question: where does one find what is the definitive teaching of the Orthodox Church; is there even such a thing?

With the RCC we have the CCC.

A Simple Sinner said...

"Of course, this raises an interesting question: where does one find what is the definitive teaching of the Orthodox Church; is there even such a thing?"

Essentially no. At least there is no singular definative compendium.

On some issues there has been a drift - such as the use of artificial birth control. On other "new issues" there simply isn't the resolve or authority to speak in a unified voice. Stem cell research is a matter that comes to mind.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Fr. Reardon's answer in the past has been to point people to the Liturgy. This is where real Orthodoxy has much in common with Anglicanism. The standard is that of scripture as understood in the Tradition, particularly the Seeven Ecumenical Councils, and as expressed in the prayers of the Church. The principle of Lex Orandi Lex Credendi (pardon my Latin) is as important to the Orthodox as it is to us.

A Simple Sinner wrote:
On some issues there has been a drift - such as the use of artificial birth control.

That depends on who you are talking to. Some priests teach that it is always a sin, including Fr. Reardon. The last authoritative stand on that issue was taken by the Oecumenical Patriarch in 1968, when he wrote that the Orthodox Church agreed completely with Humane Vitae. Despite this, here in America and other western countries, Orthodox clergy seem not to know the difference between what Orthodoxy teaches on this matter, and what the Apostate versions of Anglicanism teach.

Anonymous said...

Yes. There does seem to be a huge amount of ignorance regarding the differences between the "Catholic West" and the "Orthodox East".

I'm surprised that the notion, mistakenly held by many Orthodox, regarding the difference in church architecture wasn't brought up. For some Orthodox, the Gothic cathedral clearly shows the difference. The Gothic cathedral implies that man must rise to God while the domed Orthodox church shows God descending towards man.
Never mind that the Gothic cathedral was inspired by the Dionysian writings concerning luminous darkness, ( hence the stained glass windows, hence the height, hence the flying buttresses and so forth).

Why can't differences be acknowledged as worthy of respect?

Alice C. Linsley said...

The architectural differences are indeed significant. Here are some links that describe them:

http://hexaemeron.org/newsletter/pdf/ss_07_necess.pdf

Also, Andrew Gould's essay "On Earth as It is in Heaven" is delightful and instructive reading.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Very nice essay....but it doesn't negate the value or importance of Gothic cathedrals.

Mr. Gould didn't mention Dionysius as the inspiration for the Gothic.
Nor did he mention other aspects such as the fact that the cathedral itsel was an icon of the Womb of Mary.

There are many other aspects that are just as rich in meaning.

The point is...why can't the differences be celebrated and nourished by both?

Does there have to be a monism of thought?

Fr. Robert Hart said...

What we see in the quotation of Hierotheos Vlachos, Metropolitan of Nafpaktos, is the sort of mind that looks at differences, even of architecture, as evidence of truth or error. Therefore, the beauty of cathedrals and basilicas gets dragged into polemics.

poetreader said...

anonymous of 6.39am:

Who are you? At least a nickname would help, otherwise conversation is nearly impossible.

Where is the "monism of thought" being revealed here? Is the fact that an article discusses a thing from a certain viewpoint a denial of other possible viewpoints? Is it improper to work hard at explaining one viewpoint when that is one's objective? In short, why cannot you allow celebration of the Eastern viewpoint without complaining that your view is not also being discussed. Give us a good source for what you want to say, so that we can all be enriched in the way you say is proper.

That said, the point is that one's architecture does indeed come to express one;'s general outlook. A competent archeolgist can tell much about the whole cultural life of a society merely by the form its buildings have taken. Traditional Catholic architecture, whether Eastern or Western illustrates a religious culture which is intensely other-worldly, concentrated upon God and on the company of transfigured saints. Modern church architecture, on the other hand, has become just as intensely this-worldly, Thus the commonality of expression behind the Romanesque and Gothic churches of the West and the Byzantine temples of the East is far greater than the differences, though the way of seeing the same things has developed differently. The intense richness of a once-again undivided Church would be overwhelming.

ed

Anonymous said...

Poetreader-

Well I could cal myself Evagrius- He was the subject of my Master's thesis lo these many years ago.

" Where is the "monism of thought" being revealed here? Is the fact that an article discusses a thing from a certain viewpoint a denial of other possible viewpoints?"

This article does. And not only this one but others on the Web. There's a rather peculiar phenomenon going on with regards to American style Orthodoxy. There seems to be a fixation, by converts mostly, on constantly exaggerating differences between Orthodoxy and "Western" Christianity to the point that not only are western Christians heretics but a completely different religion. Some even posit a "conspiracy" begun by Charlemagne who used the insertion of the filioque to separate the Western Church from the Orthodox East. These folks see Palamas as "the" true dogmatic theology of Orthodoxy and reduce the complexity of Patristics to just being a prologemena to Palamas.

"Is it improper to work hard at explaining one viewpoint when that is one's objective? In short, why cannot you allow celebration of the Eastern viewpoint without complaining that your view is not also being discussed. Give us a good source for what you want to say, so that we can all be enriched in the way you say is proper."

Being myself a convert to Orthodoxy from Catholicism, I have pondered the differences and find them much less than the above mentioned. In fact, there are more commonalities than differences.

I see the differences as complementary rather than as antagonistic. In fact, the two viewpoints need each other.

There's a book published years ago on Hindu Theology that gave a schema of Catholic theology as a Gothic Rose Window. Each pane represented a school or view of theology, from Erigena to Aquinas to Descartes. None of the schools is dominant. Each complements the other and each glorifies the center of the window, the Theotokos with the Infant Jesus.

At present, the window of Christian theology is shattered, with each adherent holding on to their pane, thinking it to be the only one.

I'd like to see the full window restored. Palamas has a pane, Aquinas another, Luther one, the Church Fathers with theirs, saints, sages scholar, each adding their little piece of glass to the window and we simple believers adding our colors.

That is the antidote to the theological monism that bedevils us.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Gee. You sound like one of us- like an Anglican.

Pontificator said...

Just two weeks ago I had lunch with Dr Peter Gilbert, who is a patristics scholar and is presently translating the works of John Bekkos. He also hosts a fine blog, De unione ecclesiarum. He shares the concerns expressed by some in this thread about the increasingly anti-Western stance of some parts of Orthodoxy (and not just here in the U.S. either). He believes that Orthodoxy and Catholicism do indeed share a common faith, though there are differences, of course, some of which are rightly judged church-dividing.

It has become popular for Orthodox polemicists to assert that the Western understanding of the simplicity of the divine nature necessarily destroys the freedom of God. This charge is dependent upon a Palamite reading of the Church Fathers, the soundness of which Gilbert questions in his most recent article.

If you are not acquainted with Dr Gilbert's site, I invite you to visit it and read through his articles.

poetreader said...

OK Evagrius,

If you'll sign yourself that way we'll be able to talk.

I don't have a problem with someone's spirited advancing of a position and contrasting it with another. It is often only in contrast that one can see what is actually being said. As between the architectural forms being discussed, there is indeed a difference of kind, not merely of surface trim, and the vastly difference in philosophical approach underlying the two is very real indeed. That does not become clear until one does compare them, and that with a critical eye. One of the most enriching influences on my own spiritual growth has been exactly this contrasting of East and West in archtecture, liturgy, iconography, and style of theological thinking. I've found that my appreciation of both has been increased by reading and pondering some of the more "extreme" expressions of both sides, and, having seen the extremes in sharp contrast, proceeding to find what it is that is being seen from two such distinct viewpoints. It is indeed one single Orthodox/Catholic religion, but just as rich in possible viewpoints as the window you use so well for an illustration.

In numismatics, one cannot really discuss both sides of a coin simultaneously, but in describing them separately as if two different things, one needs to rember that there is but one coin. Thus East/Wext Christianity. This is quite different from discussing one face each of two distinct coins (as Hinduism/Christianity)

ed

Alice C. Linsley said...

Another concern is that the pitting of Orthodoxy against Roman Catholicism does a great injustice to both by making them seem homogeneous. A truer picture will recognize a wide range of religious expression within both: ermetic, monastic, academic, parochial, small orders, huge powerful orders such as the Jesuits, etc.

Following Fr.Kimel, I too recommend Peter Gilbert's site. I'm very interested in his book on John Bekkos. Some may enjoy reading Fr. Gilbert's poem on Bekkos, here: http://teachgoodwriting.blogspot.com/2008/01/scholarly-reflection-produces-poem.html

A Simple Sinner said...

"Another concern is that the pitting of Orthodoxy against Roman Catholicism does a great injustice to both by making them seem homogeneous. A truer picture will recognize a wide range of religious expression within both: ermetic, monastic, academic, parochial, small orders, huge powerful orders such as the Jesuits, etc."

A valid point! The reduction of "the West" to "Scholasticism" is as common as not... This leaves a whole lot of perfectly Catholic non-Scholastics scratching their head.

It also seems to ignore a number of Greek and Slavi scholastic-influenced folks who are saints glorified in Orthodoxy. The work of Saint Peter Moghyla of Kiev most immediately comes to mind.

Again, it is all too sad that this sort of pedantic polemic is being penned by a bishop of the Greek Church... One rather expects it from some old calendarist group. If this fare is ok, we have a whole lot more education and dialogue ahead of us then some of the headlines suggest... Then again, I have said that for years too.

A Simple Sinner said...

"May I point out to our most-welcome Roman Catholic readers that the purpose of this thread is not to score points for Rome in the polemic over the validity of Anglicanism. It is to examine, in light of what Metropolitan Vlachos has said about the differences between Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism, whether Anglicanism has more in common with the East than it does with Rome."

I think it will always been a one-way street with anglo-Catholic parties (who are willing to overlook some incessant contradistinctions) piping up to say "Well me too!" while the EO do not look the same way at them. That is to say on paper the Anglican parties will look to have more in common with the East, but the East won't be as quick to see it.

(I expect obligatory remarks to follow about the "western rite Orthodox". Truly that will demand another combox altogether!)

Interestingly a comparison between the ecclesiology found in Oriental Orthodoxy or the Church of the East (I know we Easterners can "all look alike" - we are not) to Anglicanism and back to Eastern Orthodoxy would show that Anglo-Catholics may very well be more roughly similar to the Assyrians...

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I don't regard Metropolitan Vlachos' remarks as representative of genuine Orthodoxy anyway. We cannot learn anything from this sample of his writing, except to beware his version of "Orthodoxy."

Anonymous said...

Fr. Hart,

I think you're wrong about your estimation of the Metropolitan.

He is arguing the argument of his late teacher, Fr. John Romanides.

Romanides has deeply influenced the Greek speaking hierarchy of the Orthodox.

Until the arguments of Romanides are confronted and dealt with, in a complete scholarly way, ( with unimpeachable sources), there can be no settlement of the argument.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Romanides? That explains it. If ever there was an evil, warped, and hateful man, it was Romanides. He belonged in a padded cell.

poetreader said...

So long as there is the desire to have an argument couched in such terms, there can be no settlement of the argument. Questions are being asked in such a way as to allow only one answer. One has to deny the applicability of such questions before one is allowed even to consider the issues.

I distinctly senses in reading the Metropolitan's writing that the real question is, "What charges can we invent in order to justify the continuance of the schism. The only question allowabkle by Our Lord, on the other hand, is, "How can these schisms be healed?"

With the distinct preference I have for true Eastern thinking over that of the West, it pains me to have to speak this strongly about any Orthodox, but I'm actually being altogether too mild.

ed

Anonymous said...

You shoud read the Romanity.org site.

http://www.romanity.org/index.htm

It makes for facinating ready.

Metropolitan Vlachos' work is on it.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I looked at the site mentioned above. Is it real or satire?

Anonymous said...

It is not satire.

It's quite serious. It's been a very influential site among some Orthodox.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I knew it was meant to be serious. That does not change the fact that it reads like satire. To fans of Romanides let me be clear. That is NOT a compliment.

A Simple Sinner said...

Fr. Robert Hart said...
I don't regard Metropolitan Vlachos' remarks as representative of genuine Orthodoxy anyway. We cannot learn anything from this sample of his writing, except to beware his version of "Orthodoxy."

I am enamored and in awe of your sensible charity, Father Hart. That is a credit to you to wish to sensibly rise above the polemics. I wish that everyone made such effort.

That as the case may be, the difficulty we come to when dismissing the Metropolitan is dismissing him as being arepresentitive or not to be taken seriously is something that cannot be lightly done - hard as we may wish to do so.

To do so has consequences and ramifications in EO teachings and thinking on ecclesiology and episcopal perogatives. To dismiss the opinions we don't like of certain canonical bishops doesn't just prejudice or skew our judgement in favor of the ones we do... it reduces the understanding of legitimate authority ascribed to all canonical hierarchs by saying that the ones we have to pay attention to are only the ones who follow our self-serving and arbitrary standards.

The flip side of that coin are the parties (even if they be vocal minorities) who would dismiss the bishops you like as "ecumenist/proto-papists/proto-Protestants/heretics"

If the sense of collegiality and autocephalous polyarchy espoused in the modern era in the wake of the fall of Constantinople is to serve as a working model for understanding the Eastern Orthodox... then no voice NOT condemned by a council can be understood to be less legitimate.

Frankly, this is the problem I ran into that kept this Greek Catholic home after investigating Orthodoxy.

I have been chewing over Albion's exhortation to consideration:

""May I point out to our most-welcome Roman Catholic readers that the purpose of this thread is not to score points for Rome in the polemic over the validity of Anglicanism. It is to examine, in light of what Metropolitan Vlachos has said about the differences between Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism, whether Anglicanism has more in common with the East than it does with Rome."

And the more I think about it the more my answer comes to "No" and "If you want it to be".

No for the simple fact of the matter that in the Eastern Orthodox world the sense of tradition and what is allowed is so rooted in Greek Patrimony, and levels of uniformity are expected that NO, the Anglican Communion with its openess to manifold Eucharistic theologies and considerations of later theology firmly rooted in Western Protestantism largely precludes saying "This is where we stand, just in (metaphorical) England".

However alluring the dream or goal of Anglicanism with its many similarities to Orthodoxy be viewed as "proto-Orthodox" or Anglo-Orthodox...

It really can't be done.

Alternately by saying "If you want it to be" I am alluding that the multiplicity of sometimes competing theologies means that there is room in the fray for this one as well. In the sense that all labradors are dogs, but not all dogs are labradors... I suppose parties with an intention to adopt this model of thought kind of exists...

it kind of exists inasmuch as so long as the parties that adopt it recognize that they part ways with the EO for allowing this school of thought to exist in the context of a multiplicity of schools of thought. When you consider how much of a non-issue in Anglicanism the issues of Chalcedon - where the Oriental Orthodox left the table - are... If or until parties that subscribe to an exclusive and mandated view of dogma and doctrine gain ascendancy throught TAC or break off from it, that will always be where the proto-EO parties differ, and differ significantly.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

A simple sinner wrote:

That as the case may be, the difficulty we come to when dismissing the Metropolitan is dismissing him as being a representative or not to be taken seriously is something that cannot be lightly done - hard as we may wish to do so.

I do dismiss some of the things he has expressed here as not representative of Orthodoxy, and some of the things he has said as libel. He is just plain wrong on quite a few issues. Matters of fact are either true or false, no matter who asserts them. If he said that 4+4=5, would that also be caught up in episcopal collegiality? Would that need to be formally condemned as error? Nonetheless, Orthodox bishops should not be treated as imams who can preach any old thing, and their private opinions should not be treated as doctrine. But, his false assertions are about matters alleged to be matters of fact. And he has said almost nothing at all that is, in substance, doctrine.

...the Anglican Communion with its openess to manifold Eucharistic theologies...

Ah! Careful! That is one of those things that everybody knows, but is not true anyway (sort of like, "everyone knows the earth is flat"). In 1930, the Oecumenical Patriarch himself wrote to the ABC that the EO Church was satisfied with the Eucharistic theology of the Church of England and the AC (as, indeed, one of Sacrifice and Real Presence).

The perception of manifold Eucharistic theology is furthered by the new version of "Evangelicalism" that was more or less invented in the 1970s. But, in classic Anglicanism we don't see that. We see, however, a real confusion about
"Transubstantiation" that is no less a confusion of terminology than the confusion of language that divided the Copts from the rest of the Church for centuries. Furthermore, the perception of some doctrine called "Receptionism" is no more accurate than the perception that the Copts were really "monophysites." Receptionism, like Monophysiticism, never really existed at all.

Of course, in modern times, this has all become academic among the official Canterbury Anglicans and their Archdruid of the Vacant See. The difference between the Anglican Communion and the Anglican Continuum is the difference between an "us" and a "them," and it is clearly stated in the Affirmation of St. Louis.

Troy said...

I think what John is talking about is the "One in their Hearts" done by Father Bing Arellano. His understanding of the relationship between mankind, Jesus, and Mary was one that I ascribed to until I found the Catholic Church (of the Orthdox faith.) I participated in their vigils and spirituality. It is rather innovative compared to the history of the Church and without the Roman Conception of Dogmatic Development I find it hard that these beliefs would be be accepted as Orthodox.

Joseph said...

Fr. Hart,

Here is an interesting read on the Fathers' handling of the justice of God and the atonement by Vladimir Moss, a Russian Orthodox writer in England. I was first turned on to it by the Pontificator a couple of years ago. I think you will appreciate it, given your views on Anselm.

Joseph

Joseph said...

Sorry, forgot the link:

http://www.orthodoxchristianbooks.com/downloads/1_THE_MYSTERY_OF_REDEMPTION.pdf

Anonymous said...

Robert Hart:

Ecumenical Patriarch Meletios Metaxakis got removed from office partly because of that statement about the Anglican priests and sacraments. Those statements are not valid for Orthodoxy.

You showed your right colours in that statement about Romanides, youre not more ecumenist or open minded than Hierotheos.