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 Post subject: Eastern Church and the Western Church
PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 9:22 am 
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What are the main differences between the two groups? Why can't they unite with each other and has anything been done or is being done to foster unity between the two groups?


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 Post subject: Re: Eastern Church and the Western Church
PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 9:39 am 
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You mean with the Eastern Orthodox and the Catholic Church? Just wanted to clarify, that could also mean Eastern and Roman Rites.

I think there are only a couple of doctrinal differences, mainly the filioque and some things now about papal primacy. I'm sure others here will know more.

As far as reconciliation goes, there have always been talks, but no real progress seems likely, AFAIK.

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 Post subject: Re: Eastern Church and the Western Church
PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 9:46 am 
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catholicinquirer2008 wrote:
What are the main differences between the two groups? Why can't they unite with each other and has anything been done or is being done to foster unity between the two groups?


Eastern Catholics embody tha unity already. But I think you mean Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism. It is interesting to note that the historic name for Orthodoxy is "Orthodox Catholic".

1. The main difference concerns the role of the Papacy. I believe the solution can be found by taking the leadership of Pope John Paul II. He stood head and shoulders above all the polemicists on either side of the issue.

2. I don't believe the differences in language are as significant as they once were. It may have been a contributing cause initially but I don't think it has much to do with the continued separation. What does is ego. Without a recognition by the Eastern Patriarchs that unity with all of the patriarchs is a serious issue and until the Western bishops realize that "ultramontanism" was important for the West but not important for the East no unity can happen. When the Western Bishops belittled the Eastern Catholic bishops and clergy as they have in the past the Orthodox have no reason to take unity talks seriously. As the Western Bishops take us as serious Catholics and brothers the Orthodox will hopefully listen.

3. Certain theological differences exist but are not insurmountable. E.g., as long as the West does not insist upon the use of the Filiioque there is a chance. The word Purgatory is not accepted in Orthodoxy. It has to do with perspectives on original sin which should be respected. I think the West can learn from the East on this one. Besides, the Orthodox do in fact pray for the dead just as the West does.

Much more could be said but pray for unity. That's what Jesus did.

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 Post subject: Re: Eastern Church and the Western Church
PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 9:49 am 
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Eastern Orthodoxy prays for the dead but they don't believe in Purgatory?


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 Post subject: Re: Eastern Church and the Western Church
PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 9:53 am 
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catholicinquirer2008 wrote:
Eastern Orthodoxy prays for the dead but they don't believe in Purgatory?


Here is where things get murky, they will say that they don't believe in the western notion of 'Purgatory', however if they didn't believe in some kind of 'cleansing' after death, then their practice of praying for the dead makes little sense, does it?

The way I have had it explained to me is that the main things that they don't like about the western doctrine of Purgatory are that they don't like the idea of westerners feeling the need to precisely and rigorously explain everything. 'Come on', they will argue 'you don't need to precisely explain everything down to the tiniest detail for goodness sake.'

The other thing they don't like about the western concept of Purgatory is precisely that it is WESTERN, it was developed in the west, by western theologians, with little input from the east.

Similar things could be said about their attitude towards the doctrine of Transubstantiation.

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 Post subject: Re: Eastern Church and the Western Church
PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 10:00 am 
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Has Pope Benedict XVI, or any recent Pope, tried to make strides towards unity? Will we always have the division?


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 Post subject: Re: Eastern Church and the Western Church
PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 10:20 am 
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catholicinquirer2008 wrote:
Has Pope Benedict XVI, or any recent Pope, tried to make strides towards unity? Will we always have the division?


The history is too long to recount, but yes, the Popes have been trying for years to achieve some kind of rapprochement with the Orthodox. There have been several major attempts since the Middle Ages, after Vatican II, the project has received a new emphasis.

The effort has not been entirely fruitless, probably the single biggest accomplishment was in 1965, when Pope Paul VI and Athengoras, the Patriarch of Constantinople agreed to rescind the mutual decrees of excommunication imposed in 1054. Although this measure is largely symbolic rather than substantive, it is not unimportant.

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 Post subject: Re: Eastern Church and the Western Church
PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 12:28 pm 
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HH Benedict is a devoted champion of efforts to rebuild the unity between us and the Orthodox. HH John Paul II made great strides in the effort, but was tripped up by Moscow, however, since the installation of Patriarch Kirill I, things have improved dramatically with them. HB Kirill is considered to be very "pro-Catholic" within Orthodox circles.

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 Post subject: Re: Eastern Church and the Western Church
PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 12:47 pm 
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Quote:
Similar things could be said about their attitude towards the doctrine of Transubstantiation.
What makes you say that?

The Orthodox Confession of 1640 reads --

"Christ is now in heaven only and not on earth after that manner of the flesh wherein He bore it and lived in it when He was on earth; but after the sacramental manner, whereby He is present in the Holy Eucharist, the same Son of God, God and Man, is also on earth by way of transubstantiation [kata metousiosis]. For the substance of the bread is changed into the substance of His holy body, and the substance of the wine into the substance of His precious blood."

The Eastern Orthodox Synod of Jerusalem of 1672 declared--

"In the celebration of [the Eucharist] we believe the Lord Jesus Christ to be present. He is not present typically, nor figuratively, nor by superabundant grace, as in the other Mysteries, nor by a bare presence, as some of the Fathers have said concerning Baptism, or by impanation, so that the Divinity of the Word is united to the set forth bread of the Eucharist hypostatically, as the followers of Luther most ignorantly and wretchedly suppose. But [he is present] truly and really, so that after the consecration of the bread and of the wine, the bread is transmuted, transubstantiated, converted and transformed into the true Body Itself of the Lord, Which was born in Bethlehem of the ever-Virgin, was baptized in the Jordan, suffered, was buried, rose again, was received up, sits at the right hand of the God and Father, and is to come again in the clouds of Heaven; and the wine is converted and transubstantiated into the true Blood Itself of the Lord, Which as He hung upon the Cross, was poured out for the life of the world."

In an exposition of faith by a council held at Constantinople in 1727 we find--

"As an explanatory and most accurately significant declaration of this change of the bread and the wine into the body of the Lord itself and His blood the faithful ought to acknowledge and receive the word transubstantiation, which the Catholic Church as a whole has used and receives as the most fitting statement of this mystery."

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 Post subject: Re: Eastern Church and the Western Church
PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 2:03 pm 
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Metal, I thought they had a quibble or two over the precise 'legal' definition of Transubstantiation that the Catholic Church uses. Though essentially the two meanings are identical.

At least to any practical extent.

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 Post subject: Re: Eastern Church and the Western Church
PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 2:10 pm 
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The only real issue, in my mind, is that of the role of the Pope vs. Patriarchs. The filioque I have always held to be a terribly trivial thing to get all worked up over. Mainly it was a case of not including the Eastern bishops when that doctrine was defined. There is a way of looking at that issue so that no one really disagrees, something like the Holy Spirit emanates from the Father and as Jesus is our intermediary it passes through Him down to us. I'm no expert on it, but I do know that the issue doesn't concern the salvation of souls or anything else which is really important and is therefore a trivial bit of minutia. We should reconcile that with them first and try to move on, but I'm sure the Pope has the best plan.

I'm amazed at the level of closeness we still have with the Orthodox. Separated for a thousand years and we have little more than the filioque to really worry about. It's amazing, especially when contrasted to the Protestants.

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 Post subject: Re: Eastern Church and the Western Church
PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 3:52 pm 
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I have spoken to several different Orthodox Christians who denounced the 'heresy' of Transubstantiation'. there was one who used to post here by the name of Joe, he would go on and on mocking the 'legalistic' attitude of Catholics who were arrogant enough to think that they could define the precise nature of Christ's presence in the Eucharist, he was always mocking scholasticism, indeed, to him, to be called 'scholastic' was probably the greatest possible insult.

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 Post subject: Re: Eastern Church and the Western Church
PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 4:21 pm 
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I would be proud to be called a scholastic.

CDL

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 Post subject: Re: Eastern Church and the Western Church
PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 5:29 pm 
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catholicinquirer2008 wrote:
What are the main differences between the two groups? Why can't they unite with each other and has anything been done or is being done to foster unity between the two groups?


West is more badass. East, not so much.


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 Post subject: Re: Eastern Church and the Western Church
PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 12:37 am 
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Doom wrote:
I have spoken to several different Orthodox Christians who denounced the 'heresy' of Transubstantiation'. there was one who used to post here by the name of Joe, he would go on and on mocking the 'legalistic' attitude of Catholics who were arrogant enough to think that they could define the precise nature of Christ's presence in the Eucharist, he was always mocking scholasticism, indeed, to him, to be called 'scholastic' was probably the greatest possible insult.
I know of only one Orthodox who feels that way. But he is a convert from protestantism.

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 Post subject: Re: Eastern Church and the Western Church
PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 6:39 am 
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Bombadil wrote:
I'm no expert on it, but I do know that the issue doesn't concern the salvation of souls or anything else which is really important and is therefore a trivial bit of minutia.

Watch out...watch out...

The Trinity is one of the two mysteries which define Christianity (the Incarnation being the other one). What you say about the life of the Trinity always has immense implications for everything else.

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 Post subject: Re: Eastern Church and the Western Church
PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 7:56 am 
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Turgonian wrote:
Bombadil wrote:
I'm no expert on it, but I do know that the issue doesn't concern the salvation of souls or anything else which is really important and is therefore a trivial bit of minutia.

Watch out...watch out...

The Trinity is one of the two mysteries which define Christianity (the Incarnation being the other one). What you say about the life of the Trinity always has immense implications for everything else.

I'm sure you're probably right about that, but I can't help feeling the way I do about it. PED will probably call me a pragmatist again if he sees this.......

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 Post subject: Re: Eastern Church and the Western Church
PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 8:40 am 
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And rightly so.

One recent author -- I forgot his name -- emphasised the Filioque in order to make the point that caritas proceeds from veritas, which is essential to keep in mind when one dialogues with Modernism.

The Filioque lends this way of looking at things an immense depth.

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