Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Challenge From Orthodoxy

From another forum, which since I'm leaving it, I will not advertise for them (for you will not be there long enough to continue responding).  My words will be in maroon.  An Orthodox person who goes by the nickname of "Lion" said:

Lion says: I will challenge that Scott for the Only Church that was and still is connected to the beginning of Christendom is the Orthodox churches... You seem to forget the Break Away from Holy Praxis of the first Millennium  and subsequent acts of departures...

I submit, there was no "departure" or "Break Away" from Holy Praxis (or practice) in the first millennium or thereafter.  Our traditions are different, but Sacred Tradition remains.  The concept of Theosis, while not a practice of Western Christians - it is not objected to either.

I (Lion) will bring forth:

In the Holy Praxis:

1) the abrogation of the married priesthood

The married priesthood is not a churchwide abrogation, it is a discipline of the Latin Church, which is shared, at least in part, in much of the Eastern Church.  Even in the Eastern tradition, once ordained a priest marriage is forbidden and there are no married bishops.  

2) the separation of Baptism and Confirmation

Baptism and Confirmation are two distinct Sacraments and need not be combined.

3) the abrogation of Communion to the Holy Blood

Communion in both species has ALWAYS been practiced in the Latin Rite!  The Precious Blood has not always been distributed to the congregation (though it is commonplace now) but it has ALWAYS been part of the Eucharistic celebration - in fact the Mass would be invalid without it.

4) the abrogation of giving Holy Communion to babies and little children

There is no "law" stating the Eucharist is to be shared with babies and little children.  This is a matter of discipline within the rights of each rite.

5) the secularization of the Sacred Roman(Latin) Orthodox Divine Liturgy

I am not exactly sure of what "Lion" is getting at here.  I hope he reads this and adds a comment.

6) the ''pyramidalization'' of the structure of the Church

Again, I believe more clarity is needed here.  I am unfamiliar with this label of "pyramidalization."

In the Apostolic Doctrine:

7) the self-proclamation of the supremacy of the pope

But of course, we do not see this as a self-proclamation, but something Jesus, the Good Shepherd, passed down to St. Peter in John 21:15-17.

8) the self-proclamation of the infallibility of the pope by himself

Again, this is not a self-proclamation, but directly bestowed upon Peter, alone, in Matthew 16:18-19.

9) the misunderstanding of the Divine Relations in the Most Holy Trinity

Catholics have no misunderstanding of the "Divine Relations in the Most Holy Trinity."  We may use some different terminology, but our understanding is not flawed.  I'm sure this is a "dig" at the use of the Filioque in the Nicene Creed - and though I agree it is an addition to that creed, it is not a misunderstanding of the "Divine Relations in the Most Holy Trinity."  This can be a whole debate in itself, so the response here is not intended to answer all of Orthodoxy's objections to the Filioque.

10) the misunderstanding of the Divine Energies

Again, Catholics have no misunderstanding here, those who have looked into the Divine Energies that is.  There really is no disagreement here between Catholics and Orthodoxy, the philosophical discourse used to describe the Divine Energies is not commonly used in Western/Latin thought, but there is nothing in Western thought opposed to Orthodoxy's view of Divine Energies.

11) the innovation of Purgatory as Lieu and the processus of Indulgences 

Well, since Purgatory is not an innovation, but something referenced in Scripture itself, "Lion's" claim here is from an ignorance to Scripture and in direct contradiction to the scriptural position of the Christian Church.  As for "as Lieu and the processus of Indulgences," the statement makes no sense, so again I would have to ask "Lion" for clarity.



  1. Some of the Scripture verses where the doctrine of purgatory comes from : Sir 7:33, Isa 6:5-7, Isa 61:1, 2 Macc 12:38-46, Mal 3:2-3, Mt 5:25-26,48, Mt 17:1-8, Mt 25:31-46, Lk 6:19-31, Lk 12:58-59, 1 Cor 3:12-15, 2 Cor 5:10, Eph 6:18, Phil 2:10, 2 Tim 1:16-18, Jam 1:12,5:19-20, Heb 9:27, Heb 12:23, 1Pet 1:3-7, 1 Pet 3:13-20, 1 Pet 4:6, Rev 6:9-10, Rev 21:27, 22:14-15

    Since I've been 'into' St. Augustine lately, how about a little quote from him on Purgatory:
    "....For some of the dead, indeed, the prayer of the Church or of pious individuals is heard; but it is for those who, having been regenerated in Christ, did not spend their life so wickedly that they can be judged unworthy of such compassion, nor so well that they can be considered to have no need of it. As also, after the resurrection, there will be some of the dead to whom, after they have endured the pains proper to the spirits of the dead, mercy shall be accorded, and acquittal from the punishment of the eternal fire. For were there not some whose sins, though not remitted in this life, shall be remitted in that which is to come, it could not be truly said, “They shall not be forgiven, neither in this world, neither in that which is to come.” Matthew 12:32 But when the Judge of quick and dead has said, “Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world,”..."
    [excerpt from "City of God", Book 21, Ch. 24, para 2]

    I can find more from the Church Fathers if anyone is interested.

  2. Are you kidding?! "If anyone is interested?!" Bring it on! Perhaps we should start a new entry on Purgatory and present the evidence from the Fathers on this topic?

  3. "There is no "law" stating the Eucharist is to be shared with babies and little children. This is a matter of discipline within the rights of each rite."

    But Rome changed this. It used to be a matter of catholic unity within all rites, but then Rome changed.

    Same thing for receiving only the bread and not the wine (Pope Gelasius said to do this was sacrilege). Same for splitting off confirmation (chrismation) from baptism. All these things the West used to do what the East does, but after the 1st millenium the West changed.

    Now you can claim these things don't matter. Why the East should believe you though, I don't know.

  4. CathApol,
    I think an entry or two on Purgatory would be an excellent idea. I am trying to formulate my approach now. Since I am still reading 'City of God', I am sure I will find more from St. Augustine there. The other Fathers, Doctors, and early Church writings would be from other sources. I would love to be able to link the quotes to the documents online whenever I can. So, I'll give it a go but it may take some time. Or, we could work on something together. ;-)


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