Is theosis possible for those in communion with Rome?

Irish Hermit

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Peter J said:
Irish Hermit said:
With the exception of the Churches of Jerusalem (participates to a very limited extent) and Bulgaria I think that all Orthodox Churches participate in dialogue with Catholics and to a lesser extent with Protestants.


Let me recycle an older post dealing with our involvement with the various dialogues.


Orthodox Ecumenism:  The 50 Years from Oberlin 1957 to Ravenna 2007

To get some sense of balance and background knowledge into this conversation I
want to present a few official examples which show the consistency and
ultra-conservatism of the official Orthodox viewpoint throughout the years of
ecumenism... the unbending and inflexible insistence that Orthodoxy alone
constitutes the One Church. Yes, there were weird lapses at some events such as
the pagan smoke ceremony but on a deeper level the Orthodox have not strayed
from their own reality.




1. 1957.... The Statement of the Representatives of the Greek Orthodox
Church in the USA at the North American Faith and Order Study
Conference, Oberlin, Ohio, September 1957. This is quite unequivocal
about the uniqueness of Orthodoxy as the Church.

http://www.orthodoxresearchinstitute.org/articles/ecumenical/gocamerica_faith_order_sept_1957.htm



2. 1980s.... The contretemps in the 1980s at the International Roman
Catholic-Orthodox Theological Dialogue which saw a walk-out of the
Catholic participants when the Orthodox delegates declared that they
were unable to accept Catholic baptism per se. These were not fringy
palaeohiemerologhites but the most ecumenically minded bishops and
theologians of the canonical Orthodox Churches. This question has
never been revisited in the international dialogue but one day it will
need to be faced head on.


3. 1986.... Report of the Third Panorthodox Preconciliar (WCC)
Conference, Chambesy, 1986:

"The Orthodox Church, however, faithful to her ecclesiology, to the
identity of her internal structure and to the teaching of the
undivided Church, while participating in the WCC, does not accept the
idea of the "equality of confessions" and cannot consider Church
unity as an inter-confessional adjustment. In this spirit, the unity
which is sought within the WCC cannot simply be the product of
theological agreements alone. God calls every Christian to the unity
of faith which is lived in the sacraments and the tradition, as
experienced in the Orthodox Church."

Report of the Third Panorthodox Preconciliar Conference, Chambesy,
1986

Section III, Paragraph 6
http://www.incommunion.org/articles/ecumenical-movement/chambesy-1986


4. 1997..... Even the most ecumenical Patriarch of Micklegarth His
Divine All-Holiness Bartholomew scandalised the Catholics with his
presentation at the Jesuit University of Georgetown in 1997 when he
declared:

"The manner in which we exist has become ontologically different.
Unless our ontological transfiguration and transformation toward one
common model of life is achieved, not only in form but also in
substance, unity and its accompanying realization become impossible."

Full text at
http://www.geocities.com/trvalentine/orthodox/bartholomew_phos.html


The Jesuits declared morosely that Patr. Bartholomew had set the
dialogue back 10 years.  Nobody else really understood what
the Patriarch had said,


5. 2000..... The important Statement on Orthodoxy and its ecumenical
relationships with non-Orthodox Churches issued by the 2000
Millennial Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church:

"Basic Principles of the Attitude of the Russian Orthodox Church Toward the
Other Christian Confessions"

It basically repeats what the Greeks said at Oberlin Ohio in 1957
and even more emphatically - the boundaries of the Church are
the Orthodox Church herself.

Concerning the Branch Theory...
2.5. "The so-called "branch theory", which is connected with the conception
referred to above and asserts the normal and even providential nature of
Christianity existing in the form of particular "branches", is also totally
unacceptable."

http://www.orthodoxresearchinstitute.org/articles/ecumenical/roc_other_christian_confessions.htm



6. 2007..... Catholic-Orthodox International Theological Meeting Ravenna
Sept 07

"Note [1] Orthodox participants felt it important to emphasize that
the use of the terms "the Church", "the universal Church", "the
indivisible Church" and "the Body of Christ" in this document and in
similar documents produced by the Joint Commission in no way
undermines the self-understanding of the Orthodox Church as the one,
holy, catholic and apostolic Church, of which the Nicene Creed
speaks."

http://www.orthodoxeurope.org/page/14/130.aspx#2
Granted, that's an impressive list of quotes.

If I'm not mistaken, however, there's no agreement on whether the Oriental Orthodox are "outside of the Church". (Not that I've ever been Oriental Orthodox.)
I think there is agreement.  I have never seen a statement from an Orthodox Synod that the Oriental Orthodox are members of our Church and that we are in communion with them.  I have never heard of a bishop of our Church serving Liturgy with an Oriental bishop.

If I am wrong on this I stand to be corrected.

 

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Irish Hermit said:
Peter J said:

It's been a little while since I read the Ravenna document, and I don't feel like rereading the whole thing. Is this the relevant part:

Concerning primacy at the different levels, we wish to affirm the following points:

1. Primacy at all levels is a practice firmly grounded in the canonical tradition of the Church.

2. While the fact of primacy at the universal level is accepted by both East and West
,
This is such an egregious lie that it takes the breath away.  They cannot produce one canon which speaks of primacy at the universal level.   It is really distressing to see the Orthodox present at this meeting promulgate such a gross lie.  God forgive them!
As far as I can see they are simply presenting another possible Orthodox perspective and understanding of history.

God forgive you for condemning them falsely.

M.
 

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elijahmaria said:
Irish Hermit said:
Peter J said:

It's been a little while since I read the Ravenna document, and I don't feel like rereading the whole thing. Is this the relevant part:

Concerning primacy at the different levels, we wish to affirm the following points:

1. Primacy at all levels is a practice firmly grounded in the canonical tradition of the Church.

2. While the fact of primacy at the universal level is accepted by both East and West
,
This is such an egregious lie that it takes the breath away.  They cannot produce one canon which speaks of primacy at the universal level.   It is really distressing to see the Orthodox present at this meeting promulgate such a gross lie.  God forgive them!

As far as I can see they are simply presenting another possible Orthodox perspective and understanding of history.

God forgive you for condemning them falsely
.
Let me repeat...

It is a lie for any Orthodox to state "Primacy at all levels is a practice firmly grounded in the canonical tradition of the Church."

It is another lie to state "While the fact of primacy at the universal level is accepted by both East and West."

Show us the canons or in fact anything from an Ecumenical Council dealing with primacy on the universal level.

Show us even just one canon which describes universal primacy, which designates who exercises it and how he exercises it, which speaks of the relationship of that person to the Church and his authority over the Church.

It was precisely this erroneous and deceptive statement in the Ravenna Statement which horrified the bishops of Greece and made them forbid the issuing of any further Joint Statements without the approval of their Synod.
 

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elijahmaria said:
Ortho_cat said:
Do Catholics understand theosis in the same way that we do?
If you understand it as a creature's share in the divine life?...yes.
I've never seen any magisterial proclamation on theosis from the Catholic Church.  I suspect that it is not Catholic teaching but something borrowed from the Orthodox by Catholics of the Eastern Rites as a kind of personal theologoumenon.  As we have been repeatedly told by our Catholic friends here:  if it is not magisterial teaching (limbo, etc.) do not claim it as part of Catholic doctrinal teaching.
 

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A related question to the OP regarding the possibility of theosis is the question of the way. Is there a difference of way, as described by Vladimir Lossky? :

"Since the separation, the ways which lead to sanctity are not the same in the West as in the East. The one proves its fidelity to Christ in the solitude and abandonment of the night of Gethsemane, the other gains certainty of union with God in the light of the Transfiguration." -Vladimir Lossky, MTEC (this is but one example of how Lossky considers the ways which lead to sanctity to differ W vs. E; judicial merit theology -dogmatically integral only in the West- also comes to mind among other things).

Also the question of what one might be moving toward along the way is worth discussing, it seems to me, e.g. do Roman Catholics embrace the Orthodox view of union with the uncreated energies of God as affirmed by St. Gregory Palamas? (which is, of course, what theosis is from an Orthodox POV).


 

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Irish Hermit said:
I've never seen any magisterial proclamation on theosis from the Catholic Church.  I suspect that it is not Catholic teaching but something borrowed from the Orthodox by Catholics of the Eastern Rites as a kind of personal theologoumenon.  As we have been repeatedly told by our Catholic friends here:  if it is not magisterial teaching (limbo, etc.) do not claim it as part of Catholic doctrinal teaching.
Now you have, from the Catechism of the Catholic Church

460  The Word became flesh to make us “partakers of the divine nature”: “For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God.” “For the Son of God became man so that we might become God.” “The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods.”

759  ”The eternal Father, in accordance with the utterly gratuitous and mysterious design of his wisdom and goodness, created the whole universe and chose to raise up men to share in his own divine life,” to which he calls all men in his Son. “The Father . . . determined to call together in a holy Church those who should believe in Christ.” This “family of God” is gradually formed and takes shape during the stages of human history, in keeping with the Father’s plan. In fact, “already present in figure at the beginning of the world, this Church was prepared in marvelous fashion in the history of the people of Israel and the old Advance. Established in this last age of the world and made manifest in the outpouring of the Spirit, it will be brought to glorious completion at the end of time.”

1988  Through the power of the Holy Spirit we take part in Christ’s Passion by dying to sin, and in his Resurrection by being born to a new life; we are members of his Body which is the Church, branches grafted onto the vine which is himself: [God] gave himself to us through his Spirit. By the participation of the Spirit, we become communicants in the divine nature. . . . For this reason, those in whom the Spirit dwells are divinized.

1999  The grace of Christ is the gratuitous gift that God makes to us of his own life, infused by the Holy Spirit into our soul to heal it of sin and to sanctify it. It is the sanctifying or deifying grace received in Baptism. It is in us the source of the work of sanctification: Therefore if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself.

http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_INDEX.HTM
 

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elijahmaria said:
As far as I can see they are simply presenting another possible Orthodox perspective and understanding of history.
Well, it's certainly another possible perspective and understanding of history. Whether it's Orthodox or not would be a separate question that can only validated by checking it against things Orthodox actually consider authoritative, like synodical decisions, the declarations of ecumenical councils, etc.

This is going to take this thread even further off-topic but I think it's important to clarify how Orthodox view these joint statements because one of the strongest non-traditionalist arguments against the way Orthodoxy currently conducts ecumenism is that it is actually very misleading to those we are dialoguing with.

When Rome sends representatives to one of these consultations, those representatives actually ‘represent’ Rome, in the sense that even if the Pope didn’t hand-pick them, someone who answers to the Pope, or someone who answers to someone who answers to the Pope did so. And if the Pope doesn’t feel they are doing a good job representing the Roman position, they can and will be replaced. Orthodoxy doesn’t work like that—even if you think of it in terms of each representative representing only his own autocephalous church, he does not do so in the same sense that Roman representatives represent the Pope.

Orthodox synods like to do things by consensus when possible. One practical consequence of this is that when an issue comes before the synod and a minority of bishops feel very strongly about it, while the majority don’t have strong feelings one way or the other (or are even slightly negative, but to a lesser degree than the positive side is positive), it is not at all uncommon for the synod to let the minority have their way. So when the administrative synod of a local Church meets and the topic comes up ‘we’re invited to such-and-such consultation’, there may be only two or three bishops who have strong feelings that the Church should send a representative, while the rest of the bishops think, “I’m not interested, but I suppose there’s no harm in talking.’ And thus the synod decides to send representatives in a decision that really amounts to ‘well, let Bishops X & Y do what they want, it doesn’t really matter’. And so representatives ‘from Local Church X’ are selected and go to the consultation. But they don’t actually represent the primate, or the entire synod, or even the entire administrative synod. They actually represent the 2 or 3 bishops who are most pro-dialogue in the entire Church. If the representative actually is a hierarch, then he at least represents 1 vote in the synod. But If he’s not a hierarch then he’s generally a compromise candidates, meaning that while he was selected by the bishops who were pro-dialogue, he doesn’t actually representative any of them individually, and he may disagree with each on a number of individual topics.

This is why Orthodox rarely treat ‘Joint Statements’ as particularly persuasive much less authoritative. For us, they are little more than the personal opinions of the attendees—attendees that are largely self-selected from the most extreme pro-ecumenical margin of the Church in the first place. If the opinions are Orthodox, they can be supported the same way any other Orthodox opinion is—by reference to Scripture, the Fathers, and the formal decisions of synods. If they are not, there presence in a ‘Joint Statement’ doesn’t make them any more Orthodox. As many problems as I have with Lyons and Florence they represent the only type of ecumenical dialogue whose pronouncements can actually mean anything—because the synod actually participated rather than simply acquiescing to someone going off to talk.
 

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witega said:
elijahmaria said:
As far as I can see they are simply presenting another possible Orthodox perspective and understanding of history.
Well, it's certainly another possible perspective and understanding of history. Whether it's Orthodox or not would be a separate question that can only validated by checking it against things Orthodox actually consider authoritative, like synodical decisions, the declarations of ecumenical councils, etc.

This is going to take this thread even further off-topic but I think it's important to clarify how Orthodox view these joint statements because one of the strongest non-traditionalist arguments against the way Orthodoxy currently conducts ecumenism is that it is actually very misleading to those we are dialoguing with.

When Rome sends representatives to one of these consultations, those representatives actually ‘represent’ Rome, in the sense that even if the Pope didn’t hand-pick them, someone who answers to the Pope, or someone who answers to someone who answers to the Pope did so. And if the Pope doesn’t feel they are doing a good job representing the Roman position, they can and will be replaced. Orthodoxy doesn’t work like that—even if you think of it in terms of each representative representing only his own autocephalous church, he does not do so in the same sense that Roman representatives represent the Pope.

Orthodox synods like to do things by consensus when possible. One practical consequence of this is that when an issue comes before the synod and a minority of bishops feel very strongly about it, while the majority don’t have strong feelings one way or the other (or are even slightly negative, but to a lesser degree than the positive side is positive), it is not at all uncommon for the synod to let the minority have their way. So when the administrative synod of a local Church meets and the topic comes up ‘we’re invited to such-and-such consultation’, there may be only two or three bishops who have strong feelings that the Church should send a representative, while the rest of the bishops think, “I’m not interested, but I suppose there’s no harm in talking.’ And thus the synod decides to send representatives in a decision that really amounts to ‘well, let Bishops X & Y do what they want, it doesn’t really matter’. And so representatives ‘from Local Church X’ are selected and go to the consultation. But they don’t actually represent the primate, or the entire synod, or even the entire administrative synod. They actually represent the 2 or 3 bishops who are most pro-dialogue in the entire Church. If the representative actually is a hierarch, then he at least represents 1 vote in the synod. But If he’s not a hierarch then he’s generally a compromise candidates, meaning that while he was selected by the bishops who were pro-dialogue, he doesn’t actually representative any of them individually, and he may disagree with each on a number of individual topics.

This is why Orthodox rarely treat ‘Joint Statements’ as particularly persuasive much less authoritative. For us, they are little more than the personal opinions of the attendees—attendees that are largely self-selected from the most extreme pro-ecumenical margin of the Church in the first place. If the opinions are Orthodox, they can be supported the same way any other Orthodox opinion is—by reference to Scripture, the Fathers, and the formal decisions of synods. If they are not, there presence in a ‘Joint Statement’ doesn’t make them any more Orthodox. As many problems as I have with Lyons and Florence they represent the only type of ecumenical dialogue whose pronouncements can actually mean anything—because the synod actually participated rather than simply acquiescing to someone going off to talk.
Thanks for that post, witega. I don't think I've ever heard it described like that before.

One question (for now, maybe more tomorrow): Does what you said apply strictly to EO-RC dialogue, or does it also apply to EO-OO dialogue?
 

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Peter J said:
Thanks for that post, witega. I don't think I've ever heard it described like that before.

One question (for now, maybe more tomorrow): Does what you said apply strictly to EO-RC dialogue, or does it also apply to EO-OO dialogue?
I would say yes and no.

Objectively yes. What I described above is basically systemic and applies to any ecumenical activity the EO participate in.

The no part of my answer is more subjective, but my perception is that while the 'Joint Declarations' themselves aren't any more authoritative than the ones from the EO-RC dialogue, the contents aren't nearly so controversial. That is, when people who aren't direct participants in the dialogue start to compare them "Scripture, the Fathers, and the formal decisions of synods" they stand up much better, and one doesn't see the kind of extended critiques by hierarchs and theologians one sees of the EO-RC declarations. Beyond that, our hieararchs seem much more directly engaged with that dialogue--which might a product of circumstance (much more shared geography, language, and culture between whole synods) or a chicken-and-egg thing (initial meetings were particularly positive which resulted in more hierarchical attention which resulted in more real progress, etc). Indeed, my impression of the EO-OO dialogue is that at this point its almost the opposite of what I described above--that is, that the majority of bishops are positive or very positive, but since the next step really *will* matter, no one wants to make the final move without complete unanimity which hasn't quite been achieved yet.

(And I don't want to speak for the OO's but I rather get the impression that most of what I said in the first and this post would apply to them as well).
 

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xariskai said:
A related question to the OP regarding the possibility of theosis is the question of the way. Is there a difference of way, as described by Vladimir Lossky? :

"Since the separation, the ways which lead to sanctity are not the same in the West as in the East. The one proves its fidelity to Christ in the solitude and abandonment of the night of Gethsemane, the other gains certainty of union with God in the light of the Transfiguration." -Vladimir Lossky, MTEC (this is but one example of how Lossky considers the ways which lead to sanctity to differ W vs. E; judicial merit theology -dogmatically integral only in the West- also comes to mind among other things).

Also the question of what one might be moving toward along the way is worth discussing, it seems to me, e.g. do Roman Catholics embrace the Orthodox view of union with the uncreated energies of God as affirmed by St. Gregory Palamas? (which is, of course, what theosis is from an Orthodox POV).
Dear Xariskai,

I think you are moving into the heart of the matter...... the question, for Catholics, hinges on whether theosis is seen as possible within their theology.

In fact it does not appear to bepossible  since in order for theosis to “work” one must accept several important theological understandings which are strongly denied in classic Roman Catholic theology – the distinction within the Divinity of Essence and Energies being the most crucial.

The Catholic Encyclopedia article on Hesychasm written by Father Adrian Fortescue http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07301a.htm highlights why Hesychasm (and hence theosis) cannot work in Catholic theology.  It is contrary to the foundational Catholic understanding of the simplicity of God and to Catholic understandings of grace (created vs. uncreated.)

The OP’s question is therefore answered with a No!  - not by the Orthodox but by the theology of Catholicism itself.
 

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The citations from the Catechism are not entirely apropos since they do not address the Essence-Energy distinction, nor do they explicilty state that grace is God.  It coyly avoids that since this idea only began to be acceptable in the 1940s with the writings of Karl Rahner and was seen as a revolutionary approach at the time.  It is still not welcomed in much of Catholicism.

It is also worrying that they appear to be at odds with what the Catholic Encyclopedia writes.  One or the other must be erroneous teaching.  Is this an example of the Catholic Church changing its teaching after Vatican II and , in this instance, moving their people closer to Orthodoxy? It must be welcomed.

Deacon Lance said:
Irish Hermit said:
I've never seen any magisterial proclamation on theosis from the Catholic Church.  I suspect that it is not Catholic teaching but something borrowed from the Orthodox by Catholics of the Eastern Rites as a kind of personal theologoumenon.  As we have been repeatedly told by our Catholic friends here:  if it is not magisterial teaching (limbo, etc.) do not claim it as part of Catholic doctrinal teaching.
Now you have, from the Catechism of the Catholic Church

460  The Word became flesh to make us “partakers of the divine nature”: “For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God.” “For the Son of God became man so that we might become God.” “The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods.”

759   ”The eternal Father, in accordance with the utterly gratuitous and mysterious design of his wisdom and goodness, created the whole universe and chose to raise up men to share in his own divine life,” to which he calls all men in his Son. “The Father . . . determined to call together in a holy Church those who should believe in Christ.” This “family of God” is gradually formed and takes shape during the stages of human history, in keeping with the Father’s plan. In fact, “already present in figure at the beginning of the world, this Church was prepared in marvelous fashion in the history of the people of Israel and the old Advance. Established in this last age of the world and made manifest in the outpouring of the Spirit, it will be brought to glorious completion at the end of time.”

1988  Through the power of the Holy Spirit we take part in Christ’s Passion by dying to sin, and in his Resurrection by being born to a new life; we are members of his Body which is the Church, branches grafted onto the vine which is himself: [God] gave himself to us through his Spirit. By the participation of the Spirit, we become communicants in the divine nature. . . . For this reason, those in whom the Spirit dwells are divinized.

1999  The grace of Christ is the gratuitous gift that God makes to us of his own life, infused by the Holy Spirit into our soul to heal it of sin and to sanctify it. It is the sanctifying or deifying grace received in Baptism. It is in us the source of the work of sanctification: Therefore if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself.

http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_INDEX.HTM
 

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Peter J said:
witega said:
elijahmaria said:
As far as I can see they are simply presenting another possible Orthodox perspective and understanding of history.
Well, it's certainly another possible perspective and understanding of history. Whether it's Orthodox or not would be a separate question that can only validated by checking it against things Orthodox actually consider authoritative, like synodical decisions, the declarations of ecumenical councils, etc.

This is going to take this thread even further off-topic but I think it's important to clarify how Orthodox view these joint statements because one of the strongest non-traditionalist arguments against the way Orthodoxy currently conducts ecumenism is that it is actually very misleading to those we are dialoguing with.

When Rome sends representatives to one of these consultations, those representatives actually ‘represent’ Rome, in the sense that even if the Pope didn’t hand-pick them, someone who answers to the Pope, or someone who answers to someone who answers to the Pope did so. And if the Pope doesn’t feel they are doing a good job representing the Roman position, they can and will be replaced. Orthodoxy doesn’t work like that—even if you think of it in terms of each representative representing only his own autocephalous church, he does not do so in the same sense that Roman representatives represent the Pope.

Orthodox synods like to do things by consensus when possible. One practical consequence of this is that when an issue comes before the synod and a minority of bishops feel very strongly about it, while the majority don’t have strong feelings one way or the other (or are even slightly negative, but to a lesser degree than the positive side is positive), it is not at all uncommon for the synod to let the minority have their way. So when the administrative synod of a local Church meets and the topic comes up ‘we’re invited to such-and-such consultation’, there may be only two or three bishops who have strong feelings that the Church should send a representative, while the rest of the bishops think, “I’m not interested, but I suppose there’s no harm in talking.’ And thus the synod decides to send representatives in a decision that really amounts to ‘well, let Bishops X & Y do what they want, it doesn’t really matter’. And so representatives ‘from Local Church X’ are selected and go to the consultation. But they don’t actually represent the primate, or the entire synod, or even the entire administrative synod. They actually represent the 2 or 3 bishops who are most pro-dialogue in the entire Church. If the representative actually is a hierarch, then he at least represents 1 vote in the synod. But If he’s not a hierarch then he’s generally a compromise candidates, meaning that while he was selected by the bishops who were pro-dialogue, he doesn’t actually representative any of them individually, and he may disagree with each on a number of individual topics.

This is why Orthodox rarely treat ‘Joint Statements’ as particularly persuasive much less authoritative. For us, they are little more than the personal opinions of the attendees—attendees that are largely self-selected from the most extreme pro-ecumenical margin of the Church in the first place. If the opinions are Orthodox, they can be supported the same way any other Orthodox opinion is—by reference to Scripture, the Fathers, and the formal decisions of synods. If they are not, there presence in a ‘Joint Statement’ doesn’t make them any more Orthodox. As many problems as I have with Lyons and Florence they represent the only type of ecumenical dialogue whose pronouncements can actually mean anything—because the synod actually participated rather than simply acquiescing to someone going off to talk.
Thanks for that post, witega. I don't think I've ever heard it described like that before.
I made mention of it in post 168, and have written of it in several places in other threads.  Not as eloquently as Witega though.
 

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460  The Word became flesh to make us “partakers of the divine nature”: “For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God.” “For the Son of God became man so that we might become God.” “The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods.”

yep, that's theosis :)
 

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Ortho_cat said:
460  The Word became flesh to make us “partakers of the divine nature”: “For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God.” “For the Son of God became man so that we might become God.” “The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods.”

yep, that's theosis :)
Then somebody should announce the glad tidings to the Catholic faithful.   Talk of theosis and becoming "partakers of the divine nature" generally astounds them and they ask, with a glazed look in their eyes "Father, have you become a Buddhist?"   :laugh:

They will then try to explain to you that eternal life is NOT about participation in Divinity but about the Beatific Vision of God.  And that is indeed the authentic Catholic teaching.

"That the blessed see God is a dogma of faith, expressly defined by Benedict XII (1336):

"We define that the souls of all the saints in heaven have seen and do see the Divine Essence by direct intuition and face to face [visione intuitivâ et etiam faciali], in such wise that nothing created intervenes as an object of vision, but the Divine Essence presents itself to their immediate gaze, unveiled, clearly and openly; moreover, that in this vision they enjoy the Divine Essence, and that, in virtue of this vision and this enjoyment, they are truly blessed and possess eternal life and eternal rest" (Denzinger, Enchiridion, ed. 10, n. 530--old edition, n, 456; cf. nn. 693, 1084, 1458 old, nn. 588, 868)."

"Supernatural character of heaven and the beatific vision"
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07170a.htm

There is no need to point out how entirely antithetical the papal teaching is for the Orthodox.
 

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Irish Hermit said:
The citations from the Catechism are not entirely apropos since they do not address the Essence-Energy distinction, nor do they explicilty state that grace is God.  It coyly avoids that since this idea only began to be acceptable in the 1940s with the writings of Karl Rahner and was seen as a revolutionary approach at the time.  It is still not welcomed in much of Catholicism.

It is also worrying that they appear to be at odds with what the Catholic Encyclopedia writes.   One or the other must be erroneous teaching.  Is this an example of the Catholic Church changing its teaching after Vatican II and , in this instance, moving their people closer to Orthodoxy? It must be welcomed.
The 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia is popular because of the websites that promote it: Newadvent, Catholic.com, and Catholicity (also Catholic.org IIRC).

I don't really know what Newadvent's owner's persuasion is (the website seems to have only one mission: promoting the Catholic Encyclopedia) but Catholic.com and Catholicity are definitely neo-conservative Catholic.
 

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witega said:
Peter J said:
Thanks for that post, witega. I don't think I've ever heard it described like that before.

One question (for now, maybe more tomorrow): Does what you said apply strictly to EO-RC dialogue, or does it also apply to EO-OO dialogue?
I would say yes and no.

Objectively yes. What I described above is basically systemic and applies to any ecumenical activity the EO participate in.

The no part of my answer is more subjective, but my perception is that while the 'Joint Declarations' themselves aren't any more authoritative than the ones from the EO-RC dialogue, the contents aren't nearly so controversial. That is, when people who aren't direct participants in the dialogue start to compare them "Scripture, the Fathers, and the formal decisions of synods" they stand up much better, and one doesn't see the kind of extended critiques by hierarchs and theologians one sees of the EO-RC declarations. Beyond that, our hieararchs seem much more directly engaged with that dialogue--which might a product of circumstance (much more shared geography, language, and culture between whole synods) or a chicken-and-egg thing (initial meetings were particularly positive which resulted in more hierarchical attention which resulted in more real progress, etc). Indeed, my impression of the EO-OO dialogue is that at this point its almost the opposite of what I described above--that is, that the majority of bishops are positive or very positive, but since the next step really *will* matter, no one wants to make the final move without complete unanimity which hasn't quite been achieved yet.

(And I don't want to speak for the OO's but I rather get the impression that most of what I said in the first and this post would apply to them as well).
Alright, that makes sense.
 

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Irish Hermit said:
Peter J said:
witega said:
elijahmaria said:
As far as I can see they are simply presenting another possible Orthodox perspective and understanding of history.
Well, it's certainly another possible perspective and understanding of history. Whether it's Orthodox or not would be a separate question that can only validated by checking it against things Orthodox actually consider authoritative, like synodical decisions, the declarations of ecumenical councils, etc.

This is going to take this thread even further off-topic but I think it's important to clarify how Orthodox view these joint statements because one of the strongest non-traditionalist arguments against the way Orthodoxy currently conducts ecumenism is that it is actually very misleading to those we are dialoguing with.

When Rome sends representatives to one of these consultations, those representatives actually ‘represent’ Rome, in the sense that even if the Pope didn’t hand-pick them, someone who answers to the Pope, or someone who answers to someone who answers to the Pope did so. And if the Pope doesn’t feel they are doing a good job representing the Roman position, they can and will be replaced. Orthodoxy doesn’t work like that—even if you think of it in terms of each representative representing only his own autocephalous church, he does not do so in the same sense that Roman representatives represent the Pope.

Orthodox synods like to do things by consensus when possible. One practical consequence of this is that when an issue comes before the synod and a minority of bishops feel very strongly about it, while the majority don’t have strong feelings one way or the other (or are even slightly negative, but to a lesser degree than the positive side is positive), it is not at all uncommon for the synod to let the minority have their way. So when the administrative synod of a local Church meets and the topic comes up ‘we’re invited to such-and-such consultation’, there may be only two or three bishops who have strong feelings that the Church should send a representative, while the rest of the bishops think, “I’m not interested, but I suppose there’s no harm in talking.’ And thus the synod decides to send representatives in a decision that really amounts to ‘well, let Bishops X & Y do what they want, it doesn’t really matter’. And so representatives ‘from Local Church X’ are selected and go to the consultation. But they don’t actually represent the primate, or the entire synod, or even the entire administrative synod. They actually represent the 2 or 3 bishops who are most pro-dialogue in the entire Church. If the representative actually is a hierarch, then he at least represents 1 vote in the synod. But If he’s not a hierarch then he’s generally a compromise candidates, meaning that while he was selected by the bishops who were pro-dialogue, he doesn’t actually representative any of them individually, and he may disagree with each on a number of individual topics.

This is why Orthodox rarely treat ‘Joint Statements’ as particularly persuasive much less authoritative. For us, they are little more than the personal opinions of the attendees—attendees that are largely self-selected from the most extreme pro-ecumenical margin of the Church in the first place. If the opinions are Orthodox, they can be supported the same way any other Orthodox opinion is—by reference to Scripture, the Fathers, and the formal decisions of synods. If they are not, there presence in a ‘Joint Statement’ doesn’t make them any more Orthodox. As many problems as I have with Lyons and Florence they represent the only type of ecumenical dialogue whose pronouncements can actually mean anything—because the synod actually participated rather than simply acquiescing to someone going off to talk.
Thanks for that post, witega. I don't think I've ever heard it described like that before.
I made mention of it in post 168,
Perhaps, although I can't say it is easy for me to see how it's the same as what witega said ...

Irish Hermit said:
Yes, it is an excellent statement by the bishops of Greece (although the English translation could be improved.) 

It places the bishops in the driving seat with the Catholic-Orthodox dialogue and that is where they should always have been.  But I believe that they saw ecumenism as the hobby horse of an few enthusiastic theologians and bishops.   However when they realised, after Ravenna, that the dialogue was steering into dangerous waters with the discussion of a “worldwide primate” they felt they had to take control.
 
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