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To: Kolokotronis; livius; Campion; Calvin Coolidge
Not the best of illustrations when it comes to The Church, I trust you would agree.

No, I don't agree. Name one successful organization that is run without some final authority.

remember that CEOs are regularly fired by stockholders and/or boards of directors, who are the ones who really run the company.

True. There have even been some popes whose personal lifestyles were more than questionable; yet, never once did anyone of them err when it came to doctrine.

Among the Christian churches, only the Catholic Church has existed since the time of Jesus. Every other Christian church is an offshoot of the Catholic Church. The Eastern Orthodox churches broke away from unity with the pope in 1054. The Protestant churches were established during the Reformation, which began in 1517. (Most of today’s Protestant churches are actually offshoots of the original Protestant offshoots.)

Only the Catholic Church existed in the tenth century, in the fifth century, and in the first century, faithfully teaching the doctrines given by Christ to the apostles, omitting nothing. The line of popes can be traced back, in unbroken succession, to Peter himself. This is unequaled by any institution in history.

Even the oldest government is new compared to the papacy, and the churches that send out door-to-door missionaries are young compared to the Catholic Church. Many of these churches began as recently as the nineteenth or twentieth centuries. Some even began during your own lifetime. None of them can claim to be the Church Jesus established. The Catholic Church has existed for nearly 2,000 years, despite constant opposition from the world. This is testimony to the Church’s divine origin. It must be more than a merely human organization, especially considering that its human members— even some of its leaders—have been unwise, corrupt, or prone to heresy.

Any merely human organization with such members would have collapsed early on. The Catholic Church is today the most vigorous church in the world (and the largest, with a billion members: one sixth of the human race), and that is testimony not to the cleverness of the Church’s leaders, but to the protection of the Holy Spirit.

36 posted on 09/10/2006 6:00:11 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

"The Eastern Orthodox churches broke away from unity with the pope in 1054."

That's certainly the old company line. Four ancient Patriarchates and the one new one refuse to submit to Rome, they maintain the Faith as it was established by the One Church in fidelity to the councils, Rome goes on to institute innovation upon innovation without even a by your leave from the other Patriarchates and its them who left, not Rome!

It saddens me that such a simplistic view of Church history still prevails among so many of you Latins.


42 posted on 09/10/2006 8:05:13 PM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: NYer; All; kosta50; Agrarian; TexConfederate1861
Where did your journey begin?

I was raised in the Roman Church.  I first came into contact with Orthodoxy when I was about 15.  I have known most of my adult life that I was Orthodox but it took me about a quarter century to take the plunge.

? Can you be more specific?

Again, I am limited in my response to only the Maronite Church and then, with limited experience.

Since the rejection of the Florentine Union, the Holy See has re-established communion with members of every Eastern Church. In so doing, the Holy See solemnly committed itself to respect the ancient Catholic heritage of those Churches, and it was hoped that these groups would be the seed and first fruits of a future general reunion of the East. This hope, unfortunately, has never been fulfilled, because the way in which these groups have developed since returning to the Catholic Church has provided the non-Catholic East with a pattern of reunion little to its liking. For it must be frankly stated that the Orientals did not always find a congenial home within ‘the Catholic Church. They were often viewed with reservation and suspicion by ill-informed Catholics in spite of the strenuous efforts of more magnanimous men to aid and protect them.

Finding themselves clearly subordinate to the Latin majority, the Orientals were defenseless against the invasion of Latin ways and customs, and gradually many of them lost touch with the spirit of their own heritage. Often this was their own doing. They wished above all to be Catholic, and in a world in which this was often taken to mean "Latin," they eagerly imitated Latin practices, many of which were not attuned to their own, religious culture, to prove that they too were real Catholics. Often it resulted from the misguided actions of Latins. Lastly, we must not underestimate the enormous influence of simply belonging to a Church, which had become so totally Western. Had there never been a schism, Rites would have continued to influence one another. Schism made the process a one-way street.

-Robert F. Taft  Eastern-Rite Catholicism Its Heritage and Vocation

This may be true for the Anglican Use Rite (I wouldn't know), but not for the Eastern Catholic Churches which all have seminaries for the formation of their priests.

I was addressing your comments on the Anglican Use specifically.

A Church is not the same as a rite. Within the Catholic Church there are 22 autonomous churches, each of which follows one of the 6 major rites. In these Churches, we recite a universal Creed and include the pope in our prayers. That is one area where a change would need to be made.

The primates of all Orthodox Churches that are in communion with each other are commemorated in the Diptychs and at certain times of the year in special liturgies.

"Where Peter is, there is the Church".

I am not going to go there or we will be writing tomes to each other and getting nowhere quickly.  Both Orthodox and Roman's can quote the fathers ad infinitum at each other (and have on FR and elsewhere).  So I will just say that I am familiar with the patristic arguments on both sides and I am Orthodox.

We must unite because that is the will of God!

It's really just that simple.

I admire your enthusiasm.  And I share your desire.  Just not at the expense of the essentials of the faith.  The false Union of Florence needs to be a warning to all against attempting to force reunification where the urgent issues which divide us have not been resolved.  For years Catholics have been saying to the Orthodox "All you need to do is say YES."  The problem remains that Orthodox are heretics under the canons of your ecumenical councils.  You have pronounced anathema against us.  And in fairness the reverse is true.  When I was received into Orthodoxy I was required to specifically abjure all heresies to which I had previously been attached. 

It should come as no surprise you, K, that in the Latin Church, many bishops not only share this belief but would welcome this power. As a member of a diocese run by an ultra leftist bishop, such power would translate into rewriting the liturgical texts to render them gender neutral. And that is just for starters. Imagine according such power to this "bishop"!

That is a source of grave concern to many Orthodox.  We see the Latin Church in its current crisis and are alarmed.  On the one hand we want Rome to embrace a more Orthodox ecclesiology but we also are not unaware that the western church has become used to the papal monarchy.  The problem now is that Rome is somewhat in the position of having mounted the tiger they may not be able to get off without being eaten.  The sensus fidei of the west has been badly eroded as a result of this form of government.  We all know that absent the strong arm of the Vatican chaos might well ensue in the Roman Church.  If the Pope embraced an Orthodox ecclesiology tomorrow by the end of the week I can name several RC bishops and at least one cardinal who would be ordaining women and marrying homosexuals.  We have nothing comparable to the papacy.  But for all of our administrative disunity, bishops like you have are inconceivable in Orthodoxy. 

That's because we have a sensus fidei which maintains the faith and church discipline without an absolute monarchy for a church structure.  It has done so with remarkable success for 2000 years.  Also though we do have our problems (trust me we do), we are not anarchists as some seem to think.  Bishops are answerable to their respective synods.  And corrupt or theologically suspect bishops don't usually last long.  In the Orthodox tradition it is not at all unusual for bishops to attack one another, sometimes quite publicly.  I was and remain astonished at some of the heated rhetoric our bishops direct at one another. We have (as you may be aware) some serious problems in the OCA right now.  The word scandal is appropriate (although it's about money thank God, and not something really important).  My point though is that even without a supreme pontiff the mess is getting cleaned up.  One mitered head has already rolled and more are almost certain to follow.  The Greeks just went through a similar situation with some problems in Greece proper and also with the Patriarchate of Jerusalem.  Heads have rolled and the problems are being fixed.  When was the last time you heard a Roman Catholic Bishop call a fellow bishop a heretic?  Could you imagine it?  I  never heard it and if I went to my grave without ever hearing it I would not be surprised.

True. There have even been some popes whose personal lifestyles were more than questionable; yet, never once did anyone of them err when it came to doctrine.

That is a matter of opinion.  It is not one that is shared on our side of the fence.  I don't want a charitable discussion to turn into a battle of polemics so I will leave it at that.

Among the Christian churches, only the Catholic Church has existed since the time of Jesus. Every other Christian church is an offshoot of the Catholic Church. The Eastern Orthodox churches broke away from unity with the pope in 1054. The Protestant churches were established during the Reformation, which began in 1517. (Most of today’s Protestant churches are actually offshoots of the original Protestant offshoots.)

Only the Catholic Church existed in the tenth century, in the fifth century, and in the first century, faithfully teaching the doctrines given by Christ to the apostles, omitting nothing. The line of popes can be traced back, in unbroken succession, to Peter himself. This is unequaled by any institution in history.

Even the oldest government is new compared to the papacy, and the churches that send out door-to-door missionaries are young compared to the Catholic Church. Many of these churches began as recently as the nineteenth or twentieth centuries. Some even began during your own lifetime. None of them can claim to be the Church Jesus established. The Catholic Church has existed for nearly 2,000 years, despite constant opposition from the world. This is testimony to the Church’s divine origin. It must be more than a merely human organization, especially considering that its human members— even some of its leaders—have been unwise, corrupt, or prone to heresy.

Any merely human organization with such members would have collapsed early on. The Catholic Church is today the most vigorous church in the world (and the largest, with a billion members: one sixth of the human race), and that is testimony not to the cleverness of the Church’s leaders, but to the protection of the Holy Spirit.

This sounds like something out of a religious tract.  The Roman Church from our point of view broke from the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church in the first part of the last millennium   As I noted previously the Catholic Faith founded by Jesus Christ subsists in the Orthodox Church which retains the faith of the first millennium unaltered.  Protestants and Catholics from our perspective are theologically just two sides of the same coin.  All Protestants are crypto-papists.  You both believe that one person can interpret the faith.  All the Protestants did was to replace the Pope with millions of little popes.  The results are there for everyone to see.  Only the Church as a whole can interpret scripture or pronounce dogma on matters of faith.  That's why despite our millions of petty arguments and fights over everything from calendars to fasting rules, we adhere to the same faith.  It all comes back to sensus fidei.

Apologies for typos.  Its late.

43 posted on 09/10/2006 9:03:24 PM PDT by Calvin Coollidge (The last really great president.)
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