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To: Calvin Coollidge; Kolokotronis
The debate is not over whether we MUST baptize all converts.  It's over whether we SHOULD baptize all converts.

Well, we seem to have crossed wires on the messages. I haven't touched Baptism; I'm still on papal primacy.

NYer said: There has to be someone at the helm, someone in charge, someone who has the last say, such as the father in the family, the CEO in an organization, the captain on a ship, etc. No organization can be run on consensus.

Kolokotronis said: The Orthodox Church has been run that way for 2000 years (which is not true since there is a line of papal successors going back to St. Peter and that line predates the separation of our respective churches). However, .... I asked for the official Orthodox position on birth control and cited one bishop's position that indicates there is no one hard and fast rule.

CC said: "there is a difference of opinion within Orthodoxy" about some other topic. (which only justified my position) So I wrote.

NYer: Here is another example of "consensus". What does the Church teach? Which one Patriarch has the final say?


The Ten Commandments are not the ten recommendations. The Catholic Church has teachings that are to be followed. These are not subject to 'consensus' of local bishops or priests. For example, the official teaching of the Catholic Church is NO to artificial birth control. There are no extenuating situations. Catholics are to practice NFP.

What is the official teaching of the Orthodox Church? Where is it written? Who in the Orthodox Church has the final word? Is it one particular Patriarch? Is it several Patriarchs together?

What is the official teaching of the Orthodox Church on stem cell research? Who represents the Orthodox Church when it comes to official teachings?

125 posted on 09/11/2006 6:30:53 PM PDT by NYer ("That which is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. That is the whole Torah." Hillel)
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To: NYer; Kolokotronis; kosta50; Agrarian
The Ten Commandments are not the ten recommendations. The Catholic Church has teachings that are to be followed.

Are you implying that Orthodox do not respect the Ten Commandments  If so you better be ready to back that up.

These are not subject to 'consensus' of local bishops or priests

Actually for a long time that's exactly how your church operated.  The papal monarchy was not firmly established until the 1870's.

For example, the official teaching of the Catholic Church is NO to artificial birth control. There are no extenuating situations. Catholics are to practice NFP.

What is the official teaching of the Orthodox Church? Where is it written? Who in the Orthodox Church has the final word? Is it one particular Patriarch? Is it several Patriarchs together?

What is the official teaching of the Orthodox Church on stem cell research? Who represents the Orthodox Church when it comes to official teachings?

I am starting to think you have an authority complex. The Orthodox Church's final authority is its sensus fidei which has done a far better job of maintaining and guarding the faith of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church than the Patriarch of Rome. The last word is through solemn decrees of the Great Councils of the Church when received by the Church. However in the vast majority of cases the last word is your bishop or maybe the Holy Synod. We have no need for a theological monarch.

As I noted in a previous post you seem to be under the impression that every question of faith must have an immediate and clearly defined answer. But your own church took centuries to resolve some questions of dogma. The decrees on the infallibility of the Pope were not promulgated until 1871. Prior to that time they were hotly contested. Thomas Aquinas wrote against the immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary roughly 600 years before it was proclaimed a dogma of your church. We in the East sometimes think we need a stop watch to keep up with the changes in church discipline in the West.  Our fasting rules have not changed significantly from the same ones you followed in the 5th century. Your rather insistent question betrays the legalism that has become so dominant in your church.

Our final authority is an Ecumenical Council. On issues not yet resolved by Church councils we tend to look to tradition and the fathers for guidance. But we prefer to approach the law in the spirit. Your declaration on birth control reminds me of the pharisaical legalism that Jesus so sharply condemned. You would have been one of those saying that it was against the mosaic law (which it was) to rescue an animal fallen into a pit on the Sabbath  No exceptions were to be found anywhere in the law. We look at the law less rigidly and ask what is the spirit?

Of course as is the case with the Roman Church on matters not yet resolved formally a certain amount of divergent opinion is tolerated. The attitude towards BC varies somewhat between jurisdictions. But generally speaking Orthodoxy opposes it when it is used to avoid the responsibilities of a family. In cases where health is an issue or there is doubt about the ability to support children your church seems to say that the married couple must refrain from intimate relations. Most Orthodox see that as a pharisaical application of the letter of the law while doing violence to its spirit. Also Orthodoxy does not accept the Latin teaching that the sole function of marriage is to produce babies.  In Roman theology it seems there is no spirit of the law. Only the letter.

I think you will find official statements on the specific issues you have raised on the web site of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and also that of the Orthodox Church in America.  There may be very slight differences but substantively they are the same.  The Orthodox equivalent to the Roman Magesterium is the decree of the Holy Synod.  Those decrees are not suggestions (unless specifically declared to be nonbinding).  The faithful who ignore them are generally considered to be in serious sin and may not commune the Holy Mysteries.  In some cases more serious sanctions are applied (i.e. joining the Masons is punishable by excommunication).

126 posted on 09/11/2006 7:19:26 PM PDT by Calvin Coollidge (The last really great president.)
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