Skip to comments.What would the Orthodox have to do to have unity? (Catholic/Orthodox unity)
Posted on 09/09/2006 3:04:19 PM PDT by Calvin Coollidge
Question: What would the Orthodox have to do to have unity
Father Thomas Hopko, a prominent Orthodox theologian, addresses a controversial topic in a visit here
EDITORS NOTE: Father Thomas Hopko is an Orthodox theologian and the dean emeritus of St. Vladimirs Orthodox Seminary in Crestwood, N.Y. He is a retired professor of dogmatic theology who lives in Ellwood City, Pa. Recently, he spoke to the St. John Chrysostom Society at a meeting held at St. John Orthodox Church in Campbell on the topic of what the Orthodox would have to do, despite our shared common heritage, before there could be unity with Catholicism. The topic seems of such importance to ecumenism that we include here, edited for length, his remarks that evening. The St. John Chrysostom Society works to foster unity and understanding between Roman Catholics and members of eastern-rite churches.
My topic is not what I as Orthodox believe would be required of Rome and the Roman Catholic Church for us to have unity, but rather what do I believe, being an Orthodox, that the Orthodox have to do? What is required of the Orthodox Church, particularly the bishops? What would they have to do in order to have the Eastern Orthodox churches and the Roman Catholic Church (Latin rite and Eastern churches) be in sacramental communion? Which would simply mean, be one church.
Because, if you re in Eucharistic communion, you are one church. Thats what makes the Church one. Its the unity in the body broken, the blood shed of Jesus before the face of God. Thats where the Church is actualized on earth in the celebration of the mysteries: baptism, chrism, Eucharist. Thats what makes us one. That is where the unity of our doctrine is shown, our unity of worship, our unity of morals, our ethics, the unity of spiritual life.
Now if a Roman Catholic were giving this talk and said, What do we require of the Orthodox? it would be a very different talk. Certainly one thing that is constantly required is that the Orthodox would recognize the bishop of Rome as the first bishop of Rome which, as I said last time [I spoke here], according to us, Peter was not. The first bishop of Rome, according to us, was Linus.
But in any case, the Roman Catholics would make different requirements; they would require certain other things from the Orthodox for there to be unity. The main thing that would be required these days, virtually the only thing would be the acceptance of what is now known as the Vatican Dogma: namely that Peter was the first bishop of Rome; the present bishop of Rome is his successor; he has special rights and privileges juridically over the Church; these include, according even to the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, that in certain conditions the bishop of Rome speaks from himself and not from the consensus of the Church, on matters of morals and doctrine, in certain cases infallibly. Everybody would have to agree to it. Also, every bishop on earth gets the legitimacy of his episcopacy in communion with the See of Rome and that the bishops of Rome appoint all the bishops on earth. Well, this would all have to be recognized by the Orthodox for there to be sacramental communion. I believe that would be the Roman Catholic position.
But our topic tonight is What would the Orthodox have to do in order to have communion [unity] with the Roman Catholic Church? What follows is my opinion:
Unity in essentials
The first theological thing, the essential thing that we would have to do, would be to insist that in essence, in what is really substantially belonging to Christianity . that we essentially held the same faith.
So the first thing theologically that the Orthodox would have to do would be to be very clear very clear about what belongs essentially in Christianity and what does not What is secondary? What could be different? What can be local or provincial or something that people like, but doesnt really affect the substantial unity of the faith and the confession of the Orthodox faith in the Catholic Church? Because in early Christian writings, the faith was always called Orthodox and the church was always called Catholic.
In the early Church, they spoke about the Catholic Church which holds the Orthodox faith, according to the Scriptures. So thats the main thing. Thats no easy thing.
But having said that, a million things come up about making that happen. I think very strongly that the first thing the Orthodox have to do especially the clergy, especially the bishops before they even get to that issue of what is essential and what is not essential the only thing that could be allowed to divide Christians is disagreement on essentials. Thats what we are all working on. What is essential? What is not essential?
The desire to be one
However, before we get to that, my opinion is that what is really required of the Orthodox most of all above everything, is a real desire for unity to want to be one, to suffer over the division, to weep over it, to carry it around like a sword in your soul that we who claim Christ and praise God in Christ (especially in this world which is getting less and less Christian as the clock ticks), that Christians would be divided A lot of Christians these days dont even claim that and are not interested in that. But the members of the St. John Chrysostom Society exist because of that. We claim to belong to the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church of Christ, the church that teaches the gospel truly, fully, that prays properly, that acts and teaches the right way to behave according to Christ, according to God Almighty, according to the Holy Scriptures, the canons, the saints, the fathers, etc.
So the most important thing of all is the desire to be one, and to prove that desire, not only by praying because we pray for unity at every single liturgy but prayer without activity, without work, is just blasphemous. To be praying all these things and not to be working, not be ready to make any possible sacrifice you could make that doesnt violate the essence of the faith. In other words, the Orthodox have to desire unity and be ready to sacrifice everything that they can without violating their convictions about the gospel in order to be one, particularly with Roman Catholics.
We have to be ready to do that. Now I have to say that in my opinion, the Orthodox are not ready to do that at all. They dont even want unity. So I am extremely pessimistic about that point. Why? Because the Orthodox leaders dont even want unity among the Orthodox, let alone with Roman Catholics or Protestants. Its obvious. The record is clear. Im not making this up. This is not my opinion. The Orthodox leadership, and most of the Orthodox people, dont want unity with others, and they are not ready to give up anything even the smallest little thing that is clearly not essential to the faith. I feel very strongly that this is true.
When people ask me, for example, why the Orthodox jurisdictions in America are not united, the answer is very clear: because our leaders dont want it. If they wanted it, we would have had it yesterday. There is nothing stopping them you may have to suffer a lot. You may have to give up some things: power, pre-eminence, prominence, property, possessions, prestige, positions, privilege and pleasure. Were not ready to give up those things because of pride, passion and prejudice. Forget it. Theres not going to be any unity. Thats what divides people generally, and it is certainly what divides churches.
Now here I would allow myself one little not my business remark: I have a hunch those same things are operating in the Eastern Catholic Churches, too
We will never be one unless we desire it with all our hearts, and are ready to put away everything that we can to have it . Everything that doesnt belong to the essence of the faith. Language doesnt belong to the essence of the faith. Calendars dont belong to the essence of the faith. Certain liturgical customs dont belong to the essence of the faith. Even the Byzantine Rite Liturgy for us does not belong to the essence of the faith.
Not motivated for unity
There was a whole thousand years when the Church had multiple rites of praise to God. In fact, the irony is, the time when there were the most multiple rituals for the sacraments and the services was the time there was the greatest unity in doctrine and spiritual life, evangelism, etc. In any case, the ritual is not of the essence of the faith. Language isnt, calendars are not all those things are not part of the essence of the faith. But unless we have the desire for unity, which then would lead us to feel that we have an absolute obligation from God to distinguish between what is really essential and what is not, we are never going to be united.
And here, I would say, on the planet Earth right now, I think in fact, I am sure the Orthodox churches around the world are not motivated for unity. In some of the churches, they even think that ecumenism is a heresy. In some churches, there is a feeling that what we just did upstairs pray together is not Orthodox. These Orthodox feel we should not pray together with Catholics because they are heretics. Some Orthodox believe that
So if there is a desire for unity, that will be proved not only by difficult, painful efforts to distinguish between what is essentially of the faith and what is not, but it will also require believers to do absolutely everything they can with others if only who by themselves are convinced would be contrary to the gospel if they did not in other words and this became a popular teaching of Pope John XXIII who said let us pledge to do together everything that we can, and do separately only the things that are still for us a matter of content and faith. Thats exactly what John Paul II said in [his 1995 apostolic letter] Orientale Lumen He called on Roman Catholics to affirm whatever is good, true, beautiful, holy, of God, wherever it is Its absolute obligation for an Orthodox and more than an obligation, a joy to affirm any agreement anywhere among human beings that we can claim as really true, right and of God. Now, how much more would that be the case if we were talking about the Christian Faith? The gospel? Christ? His divinity? His humanity? If we share all those things in common, then we should affirm them, and stand before the world affirming them in common.
I honestly do not believe most Orthodox leaders are even conscious of that. There is another agenda going on, an agenda that belongs to this world . That is why we Orthodox ourselves are so weak, miserable and divided, even though we claim a unity of faith (which we have) and a unity of worship (which we have), a unity in saints and tradition (which we have). But to actually do activities that would show this, witness to it, bring it to the world I dont think that is there.
There are several other things that the Orthodox would have to do. Besides desiring unity, and working really hard to say where the real disagreements are and why, and not to make issues of what are not essential that would be a huge step forward if we were mobilized and motivated to do that but there are several other things.
Be ready to forgive
Another thing that the Orthodox definitely have to do (the Catholics have to do it, too, but tonight we are talking about the Orthodox) is be totally ready to forgive everything in the past. Not to look back! Not to figure out who was wrong and who was right and who did what but to be ready to admit our own sins. We shouldnt lie. We should be ready to admit when our churches and our church leaders were wrong. I would say, if we were really Christians, that we should be ready to do that, not even saying if they do it, too!
We should say: Whatever they do is their business; were going to look at ourselves. Were going to admit our wrongs, our errors, our weaknesses, our sins. Were going to forgive the sins of the others, whether or not they even admit them. We think they did wrong; were not going to make them admit it. But were going to forgive. I believe that unless we are ready to do that, forget it. Lets have coffee right now.
We cannot be looking back. We cannot be trying to figure things out. We cannot be saying who did what to whom when. Its important to do that but we Orthodox have to admit our own sins and forgive others even when we believe they have done horrible things. Among the Orthodox, probably the most violent against union with Rome would be the Serbs, because they cannot forget the past. You say Roman Catholic among them, you might as well say devil. Unless they can get over that, and admit that they produced a few corpses too it was not just a one-way street. But even if it were, the Orthodox have to forgive. They need to ask, What can we do now? Thats just an essential Christian principle in general, not only about Church unity you know there are some people in their 80s who cant die because they havent forgiven their own parents yet for what they did to them? If Christianity is about anything, its about forgiveness. Forgiveness means acknowledging that someone did wrong to you, but deciding that you are not going to break communion over that. My own feeling it that the best way to heal memories is just not to have them. But the problem is, you cant help having them, especially if they have been pumped into you since you were born. So what do you do?
Well, the Holy Father would say, I believe, that you remember evil sins that you have committed and that others have committed against you. You remember them. But only for three reasons. One is to know how merciful God is, and that He forgives both of you. Secondly is to be motivated never to do it again. Third, because we are not to judge anybody or anything. As St. Paul says, God came to save the sinners, of whom I am the first. So we have to have that consciousness, or otherwise we are not going to get anywhere. So forgiveness is absolutely essential on the part of the Orthodox. And that even means forgiveness of Ukrainians or Russians and Carpathians or whatever. Without it, there is no unity. Forgiveness, by definition, is unity.
Another point for the Orthodox is that we not only have to desire unity, be ready to sacrifice everything essential to have it, to be able to distinguish what is essential from what is not, be able to forgive the past and admit our own sins and concentrate on ourselves, to do practical acts of charity and mercy but also never, ever to say or do anything that would offend another person unnecessarily There are so many ways we can charitably go out of our way to not hurt others our churches speak about unity, and then every day attack each other in missionary work and so on. Even among the Orthodox, one of our jurisdictions starts a mission and three days later, another jurisdiction starts another mission on the same street. Thats just offensive.
You all know the story of the Orthodox man who was shipwrecked on an island. When they came to rescue him, they found two churches there. The rescuer said, Why are there two churches here? Youre all alone. The Orthodox man said, Yeah thats the one I go to and thats the one I dont. Thats a deeply ingrained mentality among eastern Christians because of their history, their culture, their politics. But if that is not purged out somehow by the grace of God, forget about talking unity with Catholics. Orthodox need to first have unity among themselves, even culturally and nationally in regions where they live.
So Orthodox need to be ready to go the extra mile. Jesus said, If they ask for your coat, give them your shirt. If they ask you to go one mile, go two. So our attitude has to be always toward bending over backwards, so to speak, to do the thing that will build up unity rather than give offense or cause hard feelings.
People always point out that they fear greater unity because it will cause greater schisms some of our people wont go along. But we have schisms anyway. Lets have them for the right reason. Suppose we had unity and half the [Orthodox] people didnt come along. I think we should be ready to say goodbye to them if the unity is in God. We have to be people of unity, not because we will have more power in society, or be more popular, or George Bush will invite us to the White House. We have to have unity because God wants it, but it has to be unity in God, not unity in Ukrainianism or whatever If the unity is not in God, in Christ, in the Spirit, who wants it anyway?
But history shows that the people who worked for unity in the Faith were usually persecuted, while the masses just went about their business.
One last thing: I believe also that the Orthodox, if we were serious about unity, would need not only to desire it, sacrifice for it, forgive everything, admit our own sins, distinguish between what is essential and what is not, but also would have to be ready to practice economium on certain issues. This would mean, in my opinion, that we would have to be ready not just to admit that there can be different ways of singing, and different styles of liturgy, and different uses of psalms there are some issues, especially between Orthodox and Catholics, that Orthodox would have to be ready to tolerate for a while (even though they think the issues are bad) for the sake of unity.
What do I have in mind? Things like the filioque clause in the Creed [the clause in the Nicene Creed that says that the Holy Spirit proceeds, not only from the Father, but also, filioque from the Son]... If Rome would say it was not there originally, that the way it was explained was not right, we now can agree on certain aspects I think the Orthodox would have to say, OK, let them keep it rather than insist that every last church in Portugal drop the filioque before we can have unity.
In other words, the Orthodox may have to go along with something for a while, as long as its clear how we understand it.
Other things we disagree on? Unleavened bread Communion in one kind. Communion from reserved Sacrament. Celibacy of the clergy. We dont think thats a good rule I dont. I have 15 grandchildren. Baptism by pouring water we believe baptism involves immersion. Multiple Masses by the same priest. Confirmation as a separate ritual. Holy Communion for children. Issues about divorce and remarriage. There are plenty of issues that dont fall into the category of absolutely essential or absolutely non-essential.
You are certainly entitled to your opinion, as is the Roman Catholic Church.
However, I see no problem with a viable form of birth control that doesn't destroy a life. (Condoms, Birth Control Pills, EXCLUDING the infamous "Morning After")
If it PREVENTS fertilization, there is no destroying of a human life. Which in your opinion is the greatest sin? preventing conception, or poor couples having too many children, which they can't feed or support, etc?
Take a look at these good "RC" Third-World Countries, and their population of dying, disease-ridden little ones, and tell me which is the greater evil!
Dear friend, you skim, skip and avoid all of the direct points I make and revert to spirituality. How can spirituality be lived out in a world intent on destroying it! I have the utmost regard for my Orthodox brothers and sisters but I fail to comprehend how you can assuage your consciences by avering that "the bishop said it was okay to practice artificial birth control", when, in your hearts, you know it is not. Taking hormonal pills that interfere with the woman's natural cycle, works against the Divine plan. It is far more convenient than NFP but totally against the laws of nature. And, who set those laws in motion?
48 years ago, Pope Paul VI "got it right" and some catholics left the church, because its policy on birth control, "wasn't convenient". Those hormonal treatments have lasting effects; you and I both know it. Yet, today, medical science stands by its commitment to provide women with a dangerous cocktail of artificial hormones in order that she and her partner ( I have now dropped the word husband since, as Pope Paul VI pointed out, "a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman". )
One of the most obvious examples is our fasting rule,
The Catholic Church has addressed the "rules of fasting" from the perspective of non enforcement. Abiding by such 'rules' must come from the heart, or they are meaningless.
another is the practice of seeking forgiveness from those we have offended before going to communion,
K, you are not up on catholic liturgy. The Sign of Peace which we celebrate before communion, is our mutual affirmation of forgiveness to each other for errors and sins. It is a treasure we celebrate each and every week at Mass.
but there is a whole litany of "rules" which govern our day to day lives and actually make us look at life differently from those who do not have an Orthodox phronema.
What are your rules on IVF and stem cell research using pre-borm human embryos? And who established these rules? Are these consistent throughout Orthodoxy, and valid for ALL bishops in ALL branches of Orthodoxy?
I have posed this question several times and not one of the Orthodox members of this forum has give me a direct response.
Where are the Patriarchs on Islam? Today, Pope Benedict delivered a scathing address to the Muslims. In November, he will risk his life to enter Turkey, a hotbed of Islamic fundamentalism, and where the topic of the #1 selling book is the assassination of the pope. He goes there at the invitation of the Turkish president and to honor those catholics whose lives have been sacrificed by radical Muslims.
We live our lives according to the ancient teachings of The Church
So do we but, guided by the successor of St. Peter. We continue to evolve in our response to modern society, addressing scientific advances that challenge the "ancient teachings".
As I understand it, K, pope Benedict XVI and the Patriarchs of the Orthodox Churches, are working together to "join their voices" and speak out against abortion, euthanasia and the rapid decline of western society. When we speak together, our voices are louder and carry greater weight.
I intentionally included you on the above post that cites Pope Paul VI's Encyclical Humanae Vitae. Judging from your response, I can only conclude that you did not take the time to read it through, or you would not have given this response.
People who reject the Churchs teaching on contraception, by and large, do so not because they understand and disagree with it, but largely because their commitment to a certain life-style prevents them from giving the Church a fair hearing. Nonetheless, they do offer reasons for dismissing Church teaching. They often accuse the Church of being excessively idealistic, or simply unrealistic, or out of step with the modern world, or lacking compassion for the economic and psychological hardships couples must undergo in having and raising children.
The Church teaching concerning contraception is not primarily negative, but based on a most positive understanding of marriage, sexuality, and God. Marriage, in the truest sense, is not an arbitrary arrangement, but an institution established by Christ (Mt. 19: 3 ff.; Mk. 10: 2 ff.) Marriage, therefore, is divinely instituted. This lofty, exalted understanding of marriage is nowhere better realized than in sexual union where the human act of husband and wife comes into intimate relationship with the creative act of God. Sexual union between husband and wife take place on holy ground, as it were, since it is the place where Gods creation and the married couples procreation of new life intersect.
It is most fitting, when in the presence of God, or in a holy place, to show appropriate signs of reverence. Just as God asked Moses to remove his shoes when he was standing in the Divine presence, and just as people kneel when they come into Church, it is also appropriate for married couples not to defile the holy ground which is their sexual union and intimacy with God , with the employment of contraceptive devices.
The essential purpose of contraception is to prevent the initiation of new life. The use of contraception, therefore, represents a choice that is essentially contralife. Moreover, since God is the Creator of new life, contraception is not only contralife but contra-God-the-creator.
"How can spirituality be lived out in a world intent on destroying it!"
Orthodoxy has been doing that, with a hiatus at the peak of the Empire, since its founding on Pentecost, NYer. Roman Catholics, except maybe the Irish, have absolutely no historical memory of living under the heel of Islamic/pagan tyrants as Orthodoxy now has in most of its traditional regions for most of its existence. And we have preserved The Faith inviolate!
"I have the utmost regard for my Orthodox brothers and sisters but I fail to comprehend how you can assuage your consciences by avering that "the bishop said it was okay to practice artificial birth control", when, in your hearts, you know it is not."
My heart knows no such thing...nor do the hearts of a majority of Roman Catholics, apparently, who use birth control at a slightly higher level than people of other churches or ecclesial assemblies. I have on occassion remarked that in Orthodoxy, no dogma of any kind is true dogma until it is accepted and lived out by the People of God. It is clear that +Paul VI's Humanae Vitae has been rejected by the People of God since they do not live it out.
"The Catholic Church has addressed the "rules of fasting" from the perspective of non enforcement. Abiding by such 'rules' must come from the heart, or they are meaningless."
To what level does the Latin Church teach the virtues of fasting, not just on Fridays, but Wednesdays, during Great Lent and all the other lents of the Liturgical year? You know the answer, at virtually no level. Of course fasting must come from the heart! Why don't Latins have "the heart" for it? Your Eastern Rite people do!
"The Sign of Peace which we celebrate before communion, is our mutual affirmation of forgiveness to each other for errors and sins. It is a treasure we celebrate each and every week at Mass."
Yeah, right! I've seen those performances! I mean actually going to your spouse, your children, your co-workers, your neighbors and with bowed head ask them to forgive you. There is nothing stylized or "affirming" or "celebratory" about it. The Eastern Rites do it. Orthodoxy does it. It is the ancient practice of The Church. Why don't Latins do it?
" What are your rules on IVF and stem cell research using pre-borm human embryos? And who established these rules? Are these consistent throughout Orthodoxy, and valid for ALL bishops in ALL branches of Orthodoxy?
I have posed this question several times and not one of the Orthodox members of this forum has give me a direct response."
I believe you have already been given links to the positions of the OCA and the GOA which fully answer your questions. That said, why would any Christian need an ecclesiastical dictator to tell him or her that, for example, stem cell research on embryos is wrong?
"Where are the Patriarchs on Islam? Today, Pope Benedict delivered a scathing address to the Muslims."
Well good for the Pope. Its easy for him sitting in Rome to say such things.
"In November, he will risk his life to enter Turkey, a hotbed of Islamic fundamentalism, and where the topic of the #1 selling book is the assassination of the pope. He goes there at the invitation of the Turkish president and to honor those catholics whose lives have been sacrificed by radical Muslims."
He may well be risking his life. The EP, the Patriarch of Antioch, the Patriarch of Alexandria, the Patriarch or Jerusalem, the Melkite Patriarch and the Maronite Patriarch do that 24/7. I can't speak to the Melkite and Maronite Patriarchs through history, but the Turks slaughtered a number of the Orthodox Patriarchs through the centuries. You expect any of us Orthodox to be impressed? He is going to be with the EP on the patronal feast of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, to which he was invited last year. The Turks forbade his visit because he hadn't gotten his invitation from the Turk regime, rather it came from his brother, the EP.
"We continue to evolve in our response to modern society, addressing scientific advances that challenge the "ancient teachings"."
You mean like the Episcopalians with their "The Holy Spirit is doing a new thing" to justify the ordaining of a non celibate sodomite to the Episcopacy? That's what you get from "evolving" theology. Better to simply teach your people the ancient Faith, conduct your liturgies in accordance with the ancient forms because lex orandi, lex credendi, and trust that the people, because they will live their faith, will want to become like God and change their lives, than threaten them with hell if they break the rules.
"As I understand it, K, pope Benedict XVI and the Patriarchs of the Orthodox Churches, are working together to "join their voices" and speak out against abortion, euthanasia and the rapid decline of western society."
Well of course they are! Would you expect otherwise with this pope?
I must respectfully, disagree with that belief.
I believe marriage is sacred, but wouldn't call it defiling to use one's reproductive capabilities responsibly.
To finish reading later.
I tried to seperate the various elements of the Petrine doctrine. At least part of it was indeed mentioned at Ephesus:
No one doubts, but rather it has been known to all generations, that the holy and most blessed Peter, chief and head of the Apostles, the pillar of the faith, the foundation stone of the Catholic church, received the keys of the kingdom from our Lord Jesus Christ the Savior and Redeemer of the human race, and that the power of binding and loosing sins was given to him, who up to this moment and always lives in his successors, and judges.I am not implying that the fullness of the Petrine doctrine is included here, but it does include:
1. Peter was chief and head of the Apostles;
2. received a unique office through the granting of the keys;
3. this Petrine office continues in his successors.
Whether the Church in the West believed all that is unknown to me.
Do I have to list all the quotes that demonstrate this? We have covered this ground before. Again, I am not here saying that the entire Church accepted this, but is was generally accepted in the West.
But I am pretty sure the rest of the Church did not, individual Fathers notwithstanding.
I am not here claiming that it did; only that it was generally held in the West. But my point is that as a corollary: it may have been rejected by the Greeks, but it was not rejected by the whole Church. Given this, we could not properly say that there was a Church consensus either way.
But I think you have it backwards. I will appeal to Kolokotronis and invoke the concept the presumption of innocence. Before the schism Latins and Greeks were in one church, recognizing each other's bishops. With the schism the Greeks declared that the Latins were heretical and no longer of the one Church. But by the very canons that the Orthodox invoke denying that the pope has any jurisdiction over the eastern bishops, the bishops in the East have no jurisdiction over those of the West. If then any of the bishops in the East suspected a bishop in the West of heresy, the proper recourse (according to Orthodox ecclesialogy) would be to accuse him before his own synod. If they suspected that the entire synod was heretical then they should have taken the charge before a synod of the entire Church, an ecumenical council. Failing that, the Greeks must admit that the Latin bishops are the true and proper bishops over the Western church. As such, they, and they alone, have the jurisdiction and right to pass judgment on the orthodoxy of their teaching and the validity of their sacraments.
I will also point out that there is a difference between mere error and heresy. Heresy is the obstinate denial of some truth of the faith. If error alone were to exclude one from the Church, I doubt that any of us could claim membership. Since (from an Orthodox point of view) the entire Church has not ruled on the disputes between the Latins and the Greeks, Catholics cannot be charged with heresy; at best only with error. Thus, again from an Orthodox point of view, this cannot be characterized as a dispute between Catholics and the one Church but as one between brother bishops within the one Church.
Very nicely reasoned.
Some jurisdictions have adopted a very narrow interpretation of the rule that the Mysteries do not exist outside the Church and firmly reject any grace in Roman Catholic and all other heterodox sacraments.It is also what I perceive from some Orthodox that post on here.
Sorry, that should have read post #76.
God bless you for posting this. God bless Father Hopko. He is a good man working for Mercy between all Christians, but NOT Mercy at the price of compromising on the Truth that Christ came to reveal. I am a Catholic. It would be indescribably magnificent for the reunification of our churches to occur: a sign of the power of God’s Love and Mercy working through our people for all the world to see. I believe that Mercy is the only power that heal the divisions in the body of Christ, yet not a false Mercy that tolerates error with regard to the Truths that Christ came to bring. I believe that both Catholic and Orthodox churches will ultimately, with humility and a SINCERE commitment to unity, do whatever it takes to reunite once they awake to realise that they MUST unite against Satan or risk the virtual destruction of our civilisation. Satan’s plan, from the beginning, has been the oldest one in the book: divide and conquer. He has successfully played that game for 2 millenia and is now trying to break apart the very basic building block of society: the family. The weapon against Satan: I believe it is the Divine Mercy Message and Devotion revealed to Saint Faustina Kowalska as documented in her diary “Divine Mercy in My Soul”. Jesus says: “My Mercy will triumph in the end”. I believe this.
A unity based on Christian love and humility is so important to achieve. If we could only start by unifying the dates of Easter!
Please visit www.onedate.org and sign the petition for all of us to celebrate the Feast of Easter on one date.
Peace, Love, Unity
A unity based on Christian love and humility is so important to acheive. If we could only start by unifying the dates of Easter!
Please visit www.onedate.org and sign the petition to celebrate the Feast of Easter on one date.
Peace, Love and Unity