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Ecumenical councils

Mor Ephrem

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Wandile said:
universal truth is not measured in mass appeal... Secondly who reprimanded Popes Leo and Gregory the Greats as well as Pope Damasus, Agatho and many others for their claims? Who reprimanded Maximus the confessor or patriarch John of jerusalem for his claims about the papacy? Or many other countless fathers of the west and the east who said the same?
See above.  And thanks for the laugh: asking an OO Christian about who reprimanded Pope Leo?  ;)

That's not my logic . The fact is he can write as a private theologian. I never said his writings won't be a big deal or that it would be ok for him to teach heresy in those  writings. These writings are not binding on the faithful. What don't you get about that?
Wandile, the RC faith is not "if it's not ex cathedra, feel free to disagree as much as you want".  Yes, a Pope's "private writings" are not binding on the faithful in the sense that an ex cathedra statement would be, but LG 25 seems to be more inclusive than you want to admit:

Among the principal duties of bishops the preaching of the Gospel occupies an eminent place. For bishops are preachers of the faith, who lead new disciples to Christ, and they are authentic teachers, that is, teachers endowed with the authority of Christ, who preach to the people committed to them the faith they must believe and put into practice, and by the light of the Holy Spirit illustrate that faith. They bring forth from the treasury of Revelation new things and old, making it bear fruit and vigilantly warding off any errors that threaten their flock. Bishops, teaching in communion with the Roman Pontiff, are to be respected by all as witnesses to divine and Catholic truth. In matters of faith and morals, the bishops speak in the name of Christ and the faithful are to accept their teaching and adhere to it with a religious assent. This religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra; that is, it must be shown in such a way that his supreme magisterium is acknowledged with reverence, the judgments made by him are sincerely adhered to, according to his manifest mind and will. His mind and will in the matter may be known either from the character of the documents, from his frequent repetition of the same doctrine, or from his manner of speaking.

Lumen Gentium, 25
Notice, first of all, that when speaking of bishops in general (which includes the Pope), the council says "in matters of faith and morals, the bishops speak in the name of Christ and the faithful are to accept their teaching and adhere to it with a religious assent".  There's nothing about "ex cathedra" or "promulgations of ecumenical councils" or "papal infallibility" there.  It's simply "The job of bishops is to teach the faith and morality of the Church, and the faithful are to accept their teaching as from Christ".

When speaking specifically about the Pope, however, the council specifies that even when not invoking infallibility, what above applies to bishops in general is even more the case with the Pope.  The faithful's religious submission of mind and will "must be shown in such a way that his supreme magisterium is acknowledged with reverence, the judgments made by him are sincerely adhered to, according to his manifest mind and will".  The Pope's mind and will "may be known either from the character of the documents, from his frequent repetition of the same doctrine, or from his manner of speaking". 

You can fly a space shuttle through that gaping hole.  It is not nearly so restrictive as "not binding on the faithful unless it's ex cathedra", it is not as restrictive as you want us to believe in order to suit your polemic.  The average faithful Catholic gets that: only various stripes of conservative and liberal try to take advantage of the restriction for which you advocate.   

The popes universal authority is not attached to him being a bishop but to his role as head of the church. So there is no difference Mor. A bishop is a bishop.
And yet, the Pope is only the Pope because he is elected by the clergy of Rome (Cardinals) as Bishop of Rome.  You can't claim that his universal authority comes from his Papacy and not his Episcopacy when his Papacy derives precisely from his Episcopacy. 

And as far as "a bishop is a bishop", see above.  In fact, read Vatican II in light of Vatican I and previous RC tradition. 

And equally so its disingenuous of you to try imply that because a Popes writings carry more weight that that makes them automatically binding. That's stupid.
It's not that a Pope's writings are automatically binding on the faithful because they're a Pope's writings.  It's that, even if they're not "automatically binding", you still have to accept them with "religious submission of mind and will".  IOW, even if he says it's not infallible, you better treat it as if it is.   
 

podkarpatska

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Mor Ephrem said:
Wandile said:
When speaking specifically about the Pope, however, the council specifies that even when not invoking infallibility, what above applies to bishops in general is even more the case with the Pope.  The faithful's religious submission of mind and will "must be shown in such a way that his supreme magisterium is acknowledged with reverence, the judgments made by him are sincerely adhered to, according to his manifest mind and will".  The Pope's mind and will "may be known either from the character of the documents, from his frequent repetition of the same doctrine, or from his manner of speaking".  

You can fly a space shuttle through that gaping hole.  It is not nearly so restrictive as "not binding on the faithful unless it's ex cathedra", it is not as restrictive as you want us to believe in order to suit your polemic.  The average faithful Catholic gets that: only various stripes of conservative and liberal try to take advantage of the restriction for which you advocate.    

The popes universal authority is not attached to him being a bishop but to his role as head of the church. So there is no difference Mor. A bishop is a bishop.
And yet, the Pope is only the Pope because he is elected by the clergy of Rome (Cardinals) as Bishop of Rome.  You can't claim that his universal authority comes from his Papacy and not his Episcopacy when his Papacy derives precisely from his Episcopacy.  

And as far as "a bishop is a bishop", see above.  In fact, read Vatican II in light of Vatican I and previous RC tradition.  

And equally so its disingenuous of you to try imply that because a Popes writings carry more weight that that makes them automatically binding. That's stupid.
It's not that a Pope's writings are automatically binding on the faithful because they're a Pope's writings.  It's that, even if they're not "automatically binding", you still have to accept them with "religious submission of mind and will".  IOW, even if he says it's not infallible, you better treat it as if it is.    
And the bolded language is significant in light of the first public statements Pope Francis made upon his election as Bishop of Rome - and why the same were tantalizing to the Orthodox. The tease was continued in his recent encyclical regarding the role of collegiality and the role of synods. We're certainly not holding our breath on this side of the divide, but it his papacy remains enigmatic and intriguing.
 

Wandile

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Cyrillic said:
Wandile said:
Secondly who reprimanded Popes Leo
The majority of the Christians in Syria, Egypt and, at the time, Palestine.
for what exactly? The non-Chalcedonians you mean? The "reprimanded" him for his claims or orthodox tome?

"I confidently affirm that whoever calls himself Universal Bishop is the precursor of Antichrist"
Why do many orthodox think this is a strike against the pope? It but agree with catholic teaching andbso do these quotes from the same man :) :

"As regards the Church of Constantinople, who can doubt that it is subject to the Apostolic See? Why, both our most religious Lord the Emperor and our brother the Bishop of Constantinople continually acknowledge it" (Epistles 9:26).

"...the Apostolic See, which is the head of all other churches" (13:1).

, "I, albeit unworthy, have been set up in command of the Church"



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* EO/OO/RC Pejoratives -- Please do not use the following terms in your discussions as they are considered to be pejorative by other members of this forum: Uniate: Use Eastern Catholic (or their appropriate official title).  Monophysite: Please use Oriental Orthodox or Non-Chalcedonian.  Obviously, if you are discussing these terms in their true and historical sense then there is no problem using the term. What is being rejected is using this as a label to counter other members of the forum. As always, this does not imply that the board takes a position itself on these positions; this is merely a request to use civilized terminology & academic discussion standards in dialog on this forum.
-PtA
 

ialmisry

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Wandile said:
Cyrillic said:
Wandile said:
Secondly who reprimanded Popes Leo
The majority of the Christians in Syria, Egypt and, at the time, Palestine.
for what exactly? The monophosites you mean? The "reprimanded" him for his claims or orthodox tome?
and his attempts to have it adopted as the definition of the Council

Wandile said:
Cyrillic said:
"I confidently affirm that whoever calls himself Universal Bishop is the precursor of Antichrist"
Why do many orthodox think this is a strike against the pope? It but agree with catholic teaching andbso do these quotes from the same man :) :

"As regards the Church of Constantinople, who can doubt that it is subject to the Apostolic See? Why, both our most religious Lord the Emperor and our brother the Bishop of Constantinople continually acknowledge it" (Epistles 9:26).

"...the Apostolic See, which is the head of all other churches" (13:1).

, "I, albeit unworthy, have been set up in command of the Church"
LOL. Have you ever read the entire letter, or just the excepts cut out for you?
 

Salpy

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This thread on a letter from Pope Leo to St. Dioscoros may (or may not) contribute to this discussion:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,43146.0.html#top
 

Cyrillic

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Wandile said:
Cyrillic said:
Wandile said:
Secondly who reprimanded Popes Leo
The majority of the Christians in Syria, Egypt and, at the time, Palestine.
for what exactly? The non-Chalcedonians you mean? The "reprimanded" him for his claims or orthodox tome?
Obviously the Oriental Christians didn't consider him to be infallible or they wouldn't have rejected his tome.
 
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In my humble opinion, I feel that this best answers Wandile's question, at least, in a basic straightforward way.  No personal opinions from my part about what I think constitutes an Ecumenical Council.  In case you did not see it the first time, here it is again:

I'm curious to known what makes a council ecumenical in Eastern Orthodoxy and Oriental Orthodoxy?
In Eastern Orthodoxy, just like the Mysteries ("Sacraments"), we cannot really say we have 7 "concretely" but many more Mysteries ("Sacraments").  The same goes for the canon of Scripture being "concretely" reduced to 47 (or so OT books) and the 27 NT books.  In Orthodoxy, there were other synods which were convened -after the 7th, which could also be considered as "Ecumenical" in nature.  Here is some information regarding the "8th Ecumenical Synod" which may answer some -if not all- of your questions.
                                     ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                     ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Let us return, though, to the Eighth OEcumenical Synod. The Synod convened under the presidency of the “most holy OEcumenical Patriarch Photios”; around three hundred and ninety Bishops and Episcopal representatives took part; Pope John VIII appointed three delegates; and representatives of the three Patriarchates of the East also participated. The proceedings of the Synod commenced in November of 879 and concluded in March of 880. Seven sessions were held in all, and the transactions of this historic Synod in Hagia Sophia, “composed in Greek and preserved,” and published in 1705 by the illustrious Patriarch Dositheos of Jerusalem (1669-1707), as witnessed by a manuscript in the Athonite Monastery of Iveron.

The Holy Synod of 879-880 “was one of the most important Synods in the history of the Church,” and, being comprised of three hundred and ninety “Fathers, both Eastern and Western, representing the five Patriarchates, presented an imposing spectacle such as had not been seen since the time of the Fourth OEcumenical Synod of Chalcedon.”

The Synod of Hagia Sophia under St. Photios the Great bears all of the hallmarks of an OEcumenical Synod, both outwardly and inwardly, and consequently “it is not at all surprising that it was regarded as the Eighth OEcumenical Synod by [Patriarch Euythmios I (907-917)], Theodore Balsamon, Neilos of Thessalonica, Neilos of Rhodes, Symeon of Thessalonica, Mark of Ephesus, Gennadios Scholarios, Dositheos of Jerusalem, Constantine Oikonomos, and” many “others,” such as the important “Dialogue of a Certain Hieromnemon,” and by our contemporaries, St. Nectarios of Pentapolis, Archbishop Chrysostomos Papadoupoulos, Francis Dvornik, Archimandrite Basileios Stephanides, Father John Romanides, Protopresbyter George Metallinos, Metropolitan Hierotheos Blachos, et al. And this Synod also called itself OEcumenical in many places in its Proceedings and Canons, and Archimandrite Basileios Stephanides writes that “since it has not been officially recognized as the Eighth OEcumenical Synod, any OEcumenical Synod that may be convened in the future ought to deal with this issue.”

It is, however, time for us to identify “all of the canonical elements necessary for the convocation, work, and decisions of an OEcumenical Synod,” which elements, indeed, the illustrious and clearly anti-Papist Synod of Constantinople bring together in:
1. “Its convocation as an OEcumenical Synod, at which the five ancient Patriarchal thrones were represented”;
2. “its convocation by Emperor Basil I the Macedonian (867-886),” who “in fact, together with his sons, was the first to sign the dogmatic decree (Ὅρος) of the Synod and its Acts”;
3. “the large number of its members (338-390 Bishops)”;
4. “the functioning of the Synod in conformity with the traditional canonical functioning of the OEcumenical Synods”;
5. “its canonical regulations” (it promulgated three Canons);
6. “its stipulations about matters of Faith,” wherein, on pain of anathema, it designated that the Sacred Symbol of Faith (the Creed) was unalterable and inviolable;
7. “its clear awareness of its authenticity as an OEcumenical Synod,” as this is expressed “in its decision to number the Seventh OEcumenical Synod with the preceding OEcumenical Synods, which only OEcumenical Synods were entitled to do”;
8. and “the decisions made in this Synod, which were consonant with the decrees of the previous OEcumenical Synods, in accordance with the Tradition of the Church.”

The work accomplished by the great Synod of 879-880 was momentous both for that troubled period and for the future of the Church: it functioned in a unitive spirit on the basis of dogmatic Truth and ca-nonical Tradition; it condemned the alteration of the Symbol of Faith through the addition of the Filioque; ratified the Sacred Symbol as it was handed down to us by the first two OEcumenical Synods; and rejected the distortion of the simple Primacy of Honor due to the Bishop of Rome, who had transformed this into an administrative Primacy of Power over the entire Church.

St. Photios the Great also acted in a unitive spirit, refuted the Papal Primacy of Power and the adulteration of the Symbol of Faith with incontrovertible arguments, set forth the Orthodox positions with candor and clarity, and called upon the representatives of Pope John VIII to renounce their errors, which had led to the schism of 867.

St. Nectarios of Pentapolis states emphatically that
[t]he Eighth OEcumenical Synod has great importance [because] in this Synod Photios was triumphant..., his struggles for the independence of the Eastern Church were crowned with total success, and the Truth of Orthodoxy, for which he had toiled so hard, prevailed.... In a word, the triumph was complete: it was a political, an ecclesiastical, and a personal triumph.

:) hope that was helpful!

 

Wandile

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Cyrillic said:
Wandile said:
Cyrillic said:
Wandile said:
Secondly who reprimanded Popes Leo
The majority of the Christians in Syria, Egypt and, at the time, Palestine.
for what exactly? The non-Chalcedonians you mean? The "reprimanded" him for his claims or orthodox tome?
Obviously the Oriental Christians didn't consider him to be infallible or they wouldn't have rejected his tome.
This logic is flawed. The pope is believed to be infallible today by catholics but yet some still dissent.

notice to isa and Mor... I'll reply by tomorrow . I've just been busy the past few days
 

Cyrillic

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Wandile said:
Cyrillic said:
Wandile said:
Cyrillic said:
Wandile said:
Secondly who reprimanded Popes Leo
The majority of the Christians in Syria, Egypt and, at the time, Palestine.
for what exactly? The non-Chalcedonians you mean? The "reprimanded" him for his claims or orthodox tome?
Obviously the Oriental Christians didn't consider him to be infallible or they wouldn't have rejected his tome.
This logic is flawed. The pope is belueved infallble today by catholics but yet some still dessent.
But they don't anathematise the Pope because of an infallible document, call him accursed and refuse all communion with him. If they did, they obviously wouldn't believe him to be infallible.
 

Wandile

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Cyrillic said:
Wandile said:
Cyrillic said:
Wandile said:
Cyrillic said:
Wandile said:
Secondly who reprimanded Popes Leo
The majority of the Christians in Syria, Egypt and, at the time, Palestine.
for what exactly? The non-Chalcedonians you mean? The "reprimanded" him for his claims or orthodox tome?
Obviously the Oriental Christians didn't consider him to be infallible or they wouldn't have rejected his tome.
This logic is flawed. The pope is belueved infallble today by catholics but yet some still dessent.
But they don't anathematise the Pope because of an infallible document, call him accursed and refuse all communion with him. If they did, they obviously wouldn't believe him to be infallible.
Sedevacantists
 

Cyrillic

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Wandile said:
Cyrillic said:
Wandile said:
Cyrillic said:
Wandile said:
Cyrillic said:
Wandile said:
Secondly who reprimanded Popes Leo
The majority of the Christians in Syria, Egypt and, at the time, Palestine.
for what exactly? The non-Chalcedonians you mean? The "reprimanded" him for his claims or orthodox tome?
Obviously the Oriental Christians didn't consider him to be infallible or they wouldn't have rejected his tome.
This logic is flawed. The pope is belueved infallble today by catholics but yet some still dessent.
But they don't anathematise the Pope because of an infallible document, call him accursed and refuse all communion with him. If they did, they obviously wouldn't believe him to be infallible.
Sedevacantists
You think that the Oriental Orthodox were some sort of proto-sedevacantists?
 

ialmisry

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Wandile said:
Cyrillic said:
Wandile said:
Cyrillic said:
Wandile said:
Secondly who reprimanded Popes Leo
The majority of the Christians in Syria, Egypt and, at the time, Palestine.
for what exactly? The non-Chalcedonians you mean? The "reprimanded" him for his claims or orthodox tome?
Obviously the Oriental Christians didn't consider him to be infallible or they wouldn't have rejected his tome.
This logic is flawed. The pope is believed to be infallible today by catholics but yet some still dissent.
This logic is flawed.  The non-Chalcedonians never echoed that cognitive dissonance.
Wandile said:
notice to isa and Mor... I'll reply by tomorrow . I've just been busy the past few days
No problem.  I understand things are busy in your neck of the woods.
 

Wandile

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Mor Ephrem said:
Wandile, the RC faith is not "if it's not ex cathedra, feel free to disagree as much as you want".  Yes, a Pope's "private writings" are not binding on the faithful in the sense that an ex cathedra statement would be, but LG 25 seems to be more inclusive than you want to admit
no you seem to not understand the capacity in which bishops can teach/write in the catholic church. Lumen Gentum 25 teaches that when a bishop teaches In his capacity as instructor of the faithful/overseer of the diocese then even though it's not ex cathedra, the bishops words are still binding as religious assent is demanded by the faithful. That's patristic.

however a bishop can write outside of his capacity as a instructor of the faith in the respective diocese. He can write as theologian I.e. Layman meaning the writing has no authority whatsoever as opposed to the regular bishops letter. Prime example is how PBXVI Jesus of Nazareth is not part of the faith of the church nor teaching instruction. Its a private writing for anybody to read, criticize and reflect over.  Another is like the books bishop Fulton sheen wrote were not binding on his diocese as the merely private reflection of theological ideas he had.

When speaking specifically about the Pope, however, the council specifies that even when not invoking infallibility, what above applies to bishops in general is even more the case with the Pope.  The faithful's religious submission of mind and will "must be shown in such a way that his supreme magisterium is acknowledged with reverence, the judgments made by him are sincerely adhered to, according to his manifest mind and will".  The Pope's mind and will "may be known either from the character of the documents, from his frequent repetition of the same doctrine, or from his manner of speaking".
Yes I know all of this. This is all relative to him writing in the position of Bishop of Rome . He wrote his books as Joseph Ratzinger , not PBXVI I.e. Out of capacity.
that's why he went out of his way to make sure people knew its was just a private theological writing as opposed to something authoritative like a papal bull.

And yet, the Pope is only the Pope because he is elected by the clergy of Rome (Cardinals) as Bishop of Rome.  You can't claim that his universal authority comes from his Papacy and not his Episcopacy when his Papacy derives precisely from his Episcopacy.
irrelevant as the authority dircetly stems from him being head, not bishop of Rome as this is indirect. Hence had Peter left his cathedra in Antioch, Patriarch Gregory III Laham would be head. He even joked about this once. This shows succession from Peter in his position as head is what matters. Not where you are bishop. It just so happened that the Romans succeeded Peter as head and as a consequence the roman bishops gain the authority of peter... Understand better now?

It's not that a Pope's writings are automatically binding on the faithful because they're a Pope's writings.  It's that, even if they're not "automatically binding", you still have to accept them with "religious submission of mind and will".  IOW, even if he says it's not infallible, you better treat it as if it is.    
Absolutely, but you continually fail to distinguish between one writing as a bishop as opposed to writing as a theologian only. The catholic church highlights difference. Bishops don't need to be infallible as their teaching must be submitted to by the faithful. However if he writes a book for his own benefit or or whatever reason, it does not form part of the teaching body of the church but secular and extra ecclesia.
 

Wandile

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Cyrillic said:
Wandile said:
Cyrillic said:
Wandile said:
Cyrillic said:
Wandile said:
Cyrillic said:
Wandile said:
Secondly who reprimanded Popes Leo
The majority of the Christians in Syria, Egypt and, at the time, Palestine.
for what exactly? The non-Chalcedonians you mean? The "reprimanded" him for his claims or orthodox tome?
Obviously the Oriental Christians didn't consider him to be infallible or they wouldn't have rejected his tome.
This logic is flawed. The pope is belueved infallble today by catholics but yet some still dessent.
But they don't anathematise the Pope because of an infallible document, call him accursed and refuse all communion with him. If they did, they obviously wouldn't believe him to be infallible.
Sedevacantists
You think that the Oriental Orthodox were some sort of proto-sedevacantists?
I was proving a point about the hole in your logic. As here are a group of christians who, as you say ; "anathematise the Pope because of an infallible document, call him accursed and refuse all communion with him." yet believe in papal infallibility.

As a far as infallibility of the pope is concerned in the first millenium. It was an implicit dogma. Most in the east were unaware of it but some did recognize it.
 

ialmisry

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Wandile said:
Cyrillic said:
Wandile said:
Cyrillic said:
Wandile said:
Cyrillic said:
Wandile said:
Cyrillic said:
Wandile said:
Secondly who reprimanded Popes Leo
The majority of the Christians in Syria, Egypt and, at the time, Palestine.
for what exactly? The non-Chalcedonians you mean? The "reprimanded" him for his claims or orthodox tome?
Obviously the Oriental Christians didn't consider him to be infallible or they wouldn't have rejected his tome.
This logic is flawed. The pope is belueved infallble today by catholics but yet some still dessent.
But they don't anathematise the Pope because of an infallible document, call him accursed and refuse all communion with him. If they did, they obviously wouldn't believe him to be infallible.
Sedevacantists
You think that the Oriental Orthodox were some sort of proto-sedevacantists?
I was proving a point about the hole in your logic. As here are a group of christians who, as you say ; "anathematise the Pope because of an infallible document, call him accursed and refuse all communion with him." yet believe in papal infallibility.
and how do they demonstrate that belief again?
Wandile said:
As a far as infallibility of the pope is concerned in the first millenium. It was an implicit dogma. Most in the east were unaware of it but some did recognize it.
"Most in the East," i.e. where the Ecumenical Councils were held, "were unaware of it." LOL.

Some tried to score debating points with it (and failed).  Not much "recognition."
 

Wandile

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ialmisry said:
Wandile said:
Cyrillic said:
Wandile said:
Cyrillic said:
Wandile said:
Cyrillic said:
Wandile said:
Cyrillic said:
Wandile said:
Secondly who reprimanded Popes Leo
The majority of the Christians in Syria, Egypt and, at the time, Palestine.
for what exactly? The non-Chalcedonians you mean? The "reprimanded" him for his claims or orthodox tome?
Obviously the Oriental Christians didn't consider him to be infallible or they wouldn't have rejected his tome.
This logic is flawed. The pope is belueved infallble today by catholics but yet some still dessent.
But they don't anathematise the Pope because of an infallible document, call him accursed and refuse all communion with him. If they did, they obviously wouldn't believe him to be infallible.
Sedevacantists
You think that the Oriental Orthodox were some sort of proto-sedevacantists?
I was proving a point about the hole in your logic. As here are a group of christians who, as you say ; "anathematise the Pope because of an infallible document, call him accursed and refuse all communion with him." yet believe in papal infallibility.
and how do they demonstrate that belief again?
Ask a sede , its a confusing world they live in
Wandile said:
As a far as infallibility of the pope is concerned in the first millenium. It was an implicit dogma. Most in the east were unaware of it but some did recognize it.
"Most in the East," i.e. where the Ecumenical Councils were held, "were unaware of it." LOL.

Some tried to score debating points with it (and failed).  Not much "recognition."
It was implicit so its expected most are unaware. Is this the same east where the churches' greatest heretics came from? Lets not make this get ugly by making it east vs west. Secondly numbers do not determine truth. Once upon a time most of the church believed in Arianism :-\ and I can guarantee you that most first century Christians never explicitly knew about the trinity. In fact it too was implicit. Until it was finally defined in the late second century, 3rd and 4th centuries
 

Mor Ephrem

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Wandile said:
however a bishop can write outside of his capacity as a instructor of the faith in the respective diocese. He can write as theologian I.e. Layman meaning the writing has no authority whatsoever as opposed to the regular bishops letter. Prime example is how PBXVI Jesus of Nazareth is not part of the faith of the church nor teaching instruction. Its a private writing for anybody to read, criticize and reflect over.  Another is like the books bishop Fulton sheen wrote were not binding on his diocese as the merely private reflection of theological ideas he had.
For someone whose faith teaches him that ordination imprints upon the souls of the ordained an indelible mark forever conforming them to Christ the Priest, I find it interesting that you're willing to look at priesthood as a purely functional phenomenon that can be removed as easily as one's shirt. 

I understand the distinction you're trying to make, but it is a distinction "in theory".  That's not how the clergy or the people receive it: do you think the average RC is reading a book by a Pope and thinking "Eh, so what?  If he didn't issue it ex cathedra, I don't care"?  No: even if he wrote it as a private theologian, the book is still written by "Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI" (that's how the books are published, and that's how he signed his forewords).  People read the words of the Pope, and give him the benefit of the doubt that what he writes is true because they presume he would not teach something false because he is the Pope (and ISTM he would not intentionally write something he knew was controversial or contrary to RC faith because he knows that, even if he explicitly states it is private speculation, it will be received otherwise).  The average RC faithful likely extend this same regard to books written by other bishops.  Per LG 25, they are correct in doing so.       

And yet, the Pope is only the Pope because he is elected by the clergy of Rome (Cardinals) as Bishop of Rome.  You can't claim that his universal authority comes from his Papacy and not his Episcopacy when his Papacy derives precisely from his Episcopacy.
irrelevant as the authority dircetly stems from him being head, not bishop of Rome as this is indirect. Hence had Peter left his cathedra in Antioch, Patriarch Gregory III Laham would be head. He even joked about this once. This shows succession from Peter in his position as head is what matters. Not where you are bishop. It just so happened that the Romans succeeded Peter as head and as a consequence the roman bishops gain the authority of peter... Understand better now?
No, because it hasn't been even seven days since I watched a program on EWTN in which a Dominican priest in Rome explained the Papacy as I did above.  Why should I believe you instead?   

It's not that a Pope's writings are automatically binding on the faithful because they're a Pope's writings.  It's that, even if they're not "automatically binding", you still have to accept them with "religious submission of mind and will".  IOW, even if he says it's not infallible, you better treat it as if it is.    
Absolutely, but you continually fail to distinguish between one writing as a bishop as opposed to writing as a theologian only. The catholic church highlights difference. Bishops don't need to be infallible as their teaching must be submitted to by the faithful. However if he writes a book for his own benefit or or whatever reason, it does not form part of the teaching body of the church but secular and extra ecclesia.
"Absolutely" implies agreement.  Why agree with my premise and then spend time disagreeing with it? 
 
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