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Is theosis possible for those in communion with Rome?

mabsoota

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maqth,
the man i described was a priest from egypt, who i met in uk.
he was a family friend, so i heard a lot about him before i met him, so i got to know him quite quickly.

as for the discussion of the church, i believe Christians from all mainstream (not mormons etc) denominations can come close to God and be purified by His mercy and grace; however the depths of Christian experience are found primarily in the orthodox church.
 

Irish Hermit

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elijahmaria said:
Irish Hermit said:
J Michael said:
primuspilus said:
Irish Hermit said:
J Michael said:
[Catholics receive the Sacraments of Illumination-baptism and chrismation, so I guess the process for us begins on this earthly plane.  (Now, I'm more than well aware that *some* Orthodox believe our sacraments to be devoid of grace, invalid, and for all intents and purposes non-existent, but that's another "discussion"  ;)).
Catholics believe Anglican sacraments to be devoid of grace, invalid, and for all intents and purposes non-existent. They cannot administer confirmation.  Do Catholics say theosis is impossible for Anglicans?  
Do Roman Catholics also say Orthodox sacraments are invalid? I really dont know.

PP

I really did *not* mean for this to devolve into a discussion of who recognizes who or what with regards to Sacraments..............  Maybe we can just leave it at that, for this thread anyway?
Since theosis cannot commence without the Sacraments of Baptism and Chrismation, the validity of these Sacraments in the Catholic Church has direct relevance to the OP.
Absolutely!  For those Orthodox who are willing to concede that the sacraments of the Catholic Church are graced then the answer to my question about theosis is "yes"...it is indeed possible for a papal Catholic to experience the Indwelling, which is the sum and substance of a fruitful life of the spirit.
It would not necessarily be a Yes answer.  There are factors of heretical teachings as well as prelest which would seriously impede divinisation.

Bassically I would think that our holy father Saint Seraphim of Sarov is correct when he says it is impossible for the non-Orthodox.

In me opinion it is even less possible for Catholics who are on such a deep level of prelest that they believe themselves to be "Orthodox in communiion with Rome."
 

Irish Hermit

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elijahmaria said:
The idea that sanctification and theosis are necessary for the salvation of the Christian is supported without question in the communal life of the Church.
I think this may be another Dixit Maria statement.  I have never read Catholic theology which speaks of “sanctification and theosis” as “ necessary for the salvation of the Christian.”

Could you prove this?  Maybe take something like Tanquery’s “The Spiritual Life” and quote the chapters where he speaks about it.
 

elijahmaria

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J Michael said:
elijahmaria said:
Somewhere there was a question of the relationship of salvation to theosis.

Baptism is the principle moment of sanctification/justification/salvation in the Christian life for it is through Baptism that the soul is illumined by the light of the Indwelling Trinity.  It is by this illumination that we are able to interact with the Indwelling through the actions of the intellect and the soul.  Prior to Baptism, fallen humanity is not capable of experiencing the light and life of the Indwelling Trinity.  It takes a special grace to restore the illumination of the intellect/nous.  The grace of Baptism is a saving grace, an illuminating grace, a cleansing grace, a healing grace and a strengthening grace which opens us fully to the life of the Holy Spirit.

Theosis is the interaction between the divine indwelling, the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and the individual person wherein the creature is able to participate in the divine life of the Trinity.

Salvation/justification/sanctification and Theosis are not identical nor are they mutually exclusive.

The idea that sanctification and theosis are necessary for the salvation of the Christian is supported without question in the communal life of the Church.

However we do not have the ability to know what God does in the hearts and souls of those who have not formally received the sacraments of Initiation into salvation and communion in the Body of Christ.

** I don't mean this to be an exhaustive set of propositions but they are a place to begin with a sort of order attached.

M.
On this basis, can one be "saved", then, and *not* experience theosis?  For some reason, I just can't seem to wrap my mind around that.  I'm sure that is more a failing on my part than on the part of anyone trying to explain this.
As long as you can begin with the idea that God moves as He wills whether we understand his movements or not, then you have a pretty good foundation for grasping the teachings of either Orthodoxy or the Catholic Church.

The saints and fathers of the Church speak of what they understand from revelation in conjunction with their own lived experiences or the close watchfulness of the experiences of others.

In the spiritual writings of both east and west it is possible to find references, generally about those in the consecrated life, to those who are not long in the life yet experience deep prayer and contemplation and display great holiness...while others long in the consecrated life who slog along day by day hoping for some sign of holiness and finding nothing but dry bones...as far as they can see.

So the recommendation is, the strong recommendation is in the monastic life or consecrated life, not to compare oneself with others.

So you simply live your life in prayer, alms giving and sacrifice and don't worry about whether or not one can be saved or not...and experience theosis or not.  If the Holy Spirit wishes to move in the life of one who knows nothing of God, then that is possible because we know all things are possible with God.  That is all that is necessary to know.

Those who are in shared traditions can, with caution, share those traditions however...and it is that which I am trying to discern here.  Can a Catholic share his or her life in the Spirit with those who also seek to live the life of the Spirit in Orthodoxy...The question was only meant to open the conversation.

M.

 

elijahmaria

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Irish Hermit said:
elijahmaria said:
The idea that sanctification and theosis are necessary for the salvation of the Christian is supported without question in the communal life of the Church.
I think this may be another Dixit Maria statement.  I have never read Catholic theology which speaks of “sanctification and theosis” as “ necessary for the salvation of the Christian.”

Could you prove this?  Maybe take something like Tanquery’s “The Spiritual Life” and quote the chapters where he speaks about it.

:) I think its time we turn this around and you show me where the Catholic Church says that the spiritual life [sanctification and divinization in the life of unceasing prayer] is not necessary in the life of the Body of Christ.
 

PJ

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Peter J said:
maqhth said:
Not only the Latins but Protestants, Buddhists, atheists and anyone else...
This is a little off-topic, but it's interesting to note the similarity between your thinking and the thinking at the Catholic Answers Forum -- specifically, the way they lump Orthodox, Anglicans, and Protestants together with Buddhists, Hindus etc. under the title "Non-Catholic Religions". (There were various conversations about this when I use to participate there (and probably still are). I recall, in one such conversation, I was told that we cannot really say who is Christian and who isn't Christian, but we can say who is Catholic and who isn't Catholic.)
I don't usually respond to my own posts, but in this case I think I need to fault myself a little bit: the "similarity" that I thought I saw seems like a bit of a stretch, now that I re-read maqhth's post.
 

Irish Hermit

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elijahmaria said:
Irish Hermit said:
elijahmaria said:
The idea that sanctification and theosis are necessary for the salvation of the Christian is supported without question in the communal life of the Church.
I think this may be another Dixit Maria statement.  I have never read Catholic theology which speaks of “sanctification and theosis” as “ necessary for the salvation of the Christian.”

Could you prove this?  Maybe take something like Tanquery’s “The Spiritual Life” and quote the chapters where he speaks about it.

:) I think its time we turn this around and you show me where the Catholic Church says that the spiritual life [sanctification and divinization in the life of unceasing prayer] is not necessary in the life of the Body of Christ.
You made the assertion.  *YOU* need to support it.    Show us where the Roman Catholic Church teaches that “sanctification and theosis” as “ necessary for the salvation of the Christian.”

Papal statements will be fine.  Magisterial statements will be acceptable.  Or take such notable theologians as Tanquery,  or even simply from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
 

PJ

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Irish Hermit said:
You made the assertion.  *YOU* need to support it.    Show us where the Roman Catholic Church teaches that “sanctification and theosis” as “ necessary for the salvation of the Christian.”

Papal statements will be fine.   Magisterial statements will be acceptable.  Or take such notable theologians as Tanquery,  or even simply from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Whatever happened to

Irish Hermit said:
Since you are a Catholic the best person to answer your question and provide a satisfactory Catholic answer is another Catholic, of the Eastern rite.  Mary is well trained in both Roman Catholic and Eastern Catholic theology.  Mary, over to you... help a brother Catholic.
?
 

Irish Hermit

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Peter J said:
Irish Hermit said:
You made the assertion.  *YOU* need to support it.    Show us where the Roman Catholic Church teaches that “sanctification and theosis” as “ necessary for the salvation of the Christian.”

Papal statements will be fine.   Magisterial statements will be acceptable.  Or take such notable theologians as Tanquery,  or even simply from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Whatever happened to

Irish Hermit said:
Since you are a Catholic the best person to answer your question and provide a satisfactory Catholic answer is another Catholic, of the Eastern rite.  Mary is well trained in both Roman Catholic and Eastern Catholic theology.  Mary, over to you... help a brother Catholic.
?
That is precisely why I expect Mary to support what she has written.
 

PJ

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Irish Hermit said:
Peter J said:
Irish Hermit said:
You made the assertion.  *YOU* need to support it.    Show us where the Roman Catholic Church teaches that “sanctification and theosis” as “ necessary for the salvation of the Christian.”

Papal statements will be fine.   Magisterial statements will be acceptable.  Or take such notable theologians as Tanquery,  or even simply from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Whatever happened to

Irish Hermit said:
Since you are a Catholic the best person to answer your question and provide a satisfactory Catholic answer is another Catholic, of the Eastern rite.  Mary is well trained in both Roman Catholic and Eastern Catholic theology.  Mary, over to you... help a brother Catholic.
?
That is precisely why I expect Mary to support what she has written.
Still seems a little peculiar to me. But then, I don't want to be a back-seat poster.
 

Irish Hermit

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Peter J said:
Irish Hermit said:
Peter J said:
Irish Hermit said:
You made the assertion.  *YOU* need to support it.    Show us where the Roman Catholic Church teaches that “sanctification and theosis” as “ necessary for the salvation of the Christian.”

Papal statements will be fine.   Magisterial statements will be acceptable.  Or take such notable theologians as Tanquery,  or even simply from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Whatever happened to

Irish Hermit said:
Since you are a Catholic the best person to answer your question and provide a satisfactory Catholic answer is another Catholic, of the Eastern rite.  Mary is well trained in both Roman Catholic and Eastern Catholic theology.  Mary, over to you... help a brother Catholic.
?
That is precisely why I expect Mary to support what she has written.
Still seems a little peculiar to me. But then, I don't want to be a back-seat poster.
Peter,  perhaps you as a traditional Catholic can speak about Mary's statement and show us if it is Roman Catholic (magisterial) teaching.  I say "magisterial"  because the Orthodox have been cautioned time and time again that if it is not magisterial teaching it means nothing.

"....sanctification and theosis are necessary for the salvation of the Christian is supported without question in the communal life of the Church."
 

PJ

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Irish Hermit said:
Peter J said:
Irish Hermit said:
Peter J said:
Irish Hermit said:
You made the assertion.  *YOU* need to support it.    Show us where the Roman Catholic Church teaches that “sanctification and theosis” as “ necessary for the salvation of the Christian.”

Papal statements will be fine.   Magisterial statements will be acceptable.  Or take such notable theologians as Tanquery,  or even simply from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Whatever happened to

Irish Hermit said:
Since you are a Catholic the best person to answer your question and provide a satisfactory Catholic answer is another Catholic, of the Eastern rite.  Mary is well trained in both Roman Catholic and Eastern Catholic theology.  Mary, over to you... help a brother Catholic.
?
That is precisely why I expect Mary to support what she has written.
Still seems a little peculiar to me. But then, I don't want to be a back-seat poster.
Peter,  perhaps you as a traditional Catholic can speak about Mary's statement and show us if it is Roman Catholic (magisterial) teaching.  I say "magisterial"  because the Orthodox have been cautioned time and time again that if it is not magisterial teaching it means nothing.

"....sanctification and theosis are necessary for the salvation of the Christian is supported without question in the communal life of the Church."
No, I can't recall hearing any precise teaching on that, one way or the other.

Although, on a related note, have you read the Joint Declaration on Justification?
 

Irish Hermit

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Peter J said:
Although, on a related note, have you read the Joint Declaration on Justification?
Never interested me much.  We have only 3 or 4 Lutheran churches in this country.
 

PJ

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Irish Hermit said:
Peter J said:
Although, on a related note, have you read the Joint Declaration on Justification?
Never interested me much.  We have only 3 or 4 Lutheran churches in this country.
Actually, I was more wondering whether it's any help in understanding the Catholic position on salvation & theosis.

BTW, would that be England?
 

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Forgive me for the lengthy quote, but Fr. Cleenewert says this much better than I.  I also realize that he's not a "Church Father" so many might just dismiss him as another "modern theologian" whom we can ignore, but I believe it to be germane to the subject at hand, since this is ultimately an issue of ecclesiology.

Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi is a powerful and truthful maxim. We learn a lot about a community’s beliefs and consciousness by studying its prayer life. As we have seen, the Orthodox Churches consider liturgical tradition to be a basic and reliable manifestation of doctrine. With this principle in mind, what the liturgy of St. Basil has to say about the unity of the Church is quite relevant. The passage in question is part of a post-epiclesis prayer (therefore a very solem one):

Cause the schisms in the Church to cease...

If our question is “Can His Body be broken?” the answer given by St. Basil seems to be, yes. He himself experienced the consequences of the Arian heresy and was the sorrowful witness of many tragic splits. We may therefore say that the (local) Church can go through periods of apparent schism or even heresy when one wonders who the true bishop is and where the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church can be found. Sometimes, the confusion is temporary and does not lead to a lasting schism, both within the catholic Church and in the common union. But there are thresholds and circumstances when the schism becomes organic and permanent.

This discussion opens the door to a serious and vast topic...What is the nature of salvation? What are the means of salvation? Can one be saved outside the visible manifestation of the Church and without her sacraments? Can the pre-eternal Church be made manifest where there is heresy, schism, corruption and sin? Further, can the pre-eternal Church be made manifest in the same city by means of two competing bishops?

In the case of Cornelius and Novation (in the wake of persuctions in the late 3rd century, Rome found herself without a bishop. Cornelius was elected to the episcopacy by the Roman clergy, but a few days later the controversial presbyter Novation announced his own claims and managed to get himself consecrated by three distant Italian bishops) it was obvious who the “real” bishop of Rome was: the one who was recognized by all the other bishops, starting with those who represented the ancient and principal Churches. But what would happen if the episcopate was in fact divided on which bishop to be in communion with? (This happened in Antioch)

Where was the Church? How could one tell which one of the orthodox bishops was to be sided with? With the strict and pure (Novationists)? With those who went along with the governmental appointees (the Arians)? With those who were in communion with Rome (Paulinus)? Or with those who received support from neighboring bishops (Meletius)? In hindsight, it seems that Meletius can be recognized as the true orthodox and catholic bishop of the Church in Antioch, but does it mean that those who participated in the other Eucharists did not also participate in the invisible and transcendent communion of saints? (After all, St. Jerome was ordained by Paulinus). Is it personal holiness, orthodoxy of faith, legitimacy of election and consecration or communion with other Churches that determines the true manifestation of Christ’s body in a community?

If the Church is a divine organism fully revealed in the local catholic Church, what happened to the worldwide communion of Churches, however tragic, is only organizational - indeed a political - issue. In other words, the means of salvation are not at stake, but the faithfulness of our witness to Christ “the unifier” is compromised. We could also say that the holographic “whole-units,” instead of being organized in such a way as to create a beautiful icon of the Lord, have instead produced a distorted image.

The local Church is the whole Church. What we see (and need) beyond the local Church are structures of common union, communication and harmony. The main point is that these structures do not belong to the Eucharistic ontology of the catholic Church...In this context, every Church is the same catholic Church as every other, and their bishops have full ontological equality.

If the local Church (the “diocese”) is “the Catholic Church”, it contains in itself the fullness of means of grace, sanctification and salvation, whether or not “united” into a particular geopolitical superstructure. In other words, Cyprian of Carthage, Stephen of Rome and Firmilian of Caesarea can still be bishops of the catholic Church and saints in spite of their ruptures of communion. The Churches of St. Thomas in India, or those of Ethiopia were always one, holy, catholic and apostolic even when disconnected from Rome or Constantinople. It also means that the saints (of East and West, for instance St. Francis of Assisi and St. Sergius) do not drop in and out of the catholic Church because their patriarchs are quarreling over who knows what. Likewise, the idea that salvation is tied to a particular worldwide organism becomes obsolete.


- His Broken Body:  Understanding and Healing the Schism between the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches.
 

Irish Hermit

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Peter J said:
Irish Hermit said:
Peter J said:
Although, on a related note, have you read the Joint Declaration on Justification?
Never interested me much.  We have only 3 or 4 Lutheran churches in this country.
Actually, I was more wondering whether it's any help in understanding the Catholic position on salvation & theosis.

BTW, would that be England?
New Zealand
 

Irish Hermit

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Sleeper said:
- His Broken Body:  Understanding and Healing the Schism between the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches.
As a counterbalance to the book by Priest Cleenewerck...

This brilliant defence of traditional Orthodox ecclesiology by the Holy New-Martyr
Archbishop Hilarion Troitsky — who received a martyr's crown on December 15th, 1929.

“Christianity or the Church?”
http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/christchurchilarion.htm

 

Irish Hermit

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Sleeper said:
... the idea that salvation is tied to a particular worldwide organism becomes obsolete.
Are there bishops and synods who have signified their agreement with this?  or is it just a weird thought from Priest Cleenewerck?
 

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If "traditional Orthodox ecclesiology" differs from the obvious ecclesiology of the first 3 centuries, we've got problems.
 

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I'm currently reading a book by a traditional Catholic who had this to offer on the Athanasian period (Banished Heart pg 143):

Pope Liberius offended against justice and against the Faith itself, when, harassed by Arian heretics and by the Emperor Constantius, he excommunicated St. Athanasius and added his signature to the Arian creed drawn up at Sirmium. Though Liberius was personally orthodox and signed under coercion, this betrayal caused him to be excluded from the Roman Martyrology. When he entered into communion with the heretical Eastern bishops, St. Ambrose's dictum 'ubi Petris ibi Ecclesia' ('where Peter is, there is the Church') ceased temporarily to apply, and the true Church became the small band of Christians gathered around the persecuted and excommunicated Bishop of Alexandria.
 

Irish Hermit

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Sleeper said:
If "traditional Orthodox ecclesiology" differs from the obvious ecclesiology of the first 3 centuries, we've got problems.
Saint Justin Popovic hits the nail on the head.  As it was in the 3rd centurty, so it is in the 21st....


"...the Orthodox Church, in its nature and its dogmatically unchanging
constitution is episcopal and centered in the bishops. For the bishop and
the faithful gathered around him are the expression and
manifestation of the Church as the Body of Christ, especially in the Holy
Liturgy; the Church is Apostolic and Catholic only by virtue of its bishops,
insofar as they are the heads of true ecclesiastical
units, the dioceses.


"At the same time, the other, historically later and variable forms of
church organization of the Orthodox Church: the metropolias, archdioceses,
patriarchates, pentarchies, autocephalies, autonomies, etc., however many
there may be or shall be, cannot have and do not have a determining and
decisive significance in the conciliar system of the Orthodox Church.
Furthermore, they may constitute an obstacle in the correct functioning of
the conciliary principle if they obstruct and reject the episcopal character
and structure of the Church and of the Churches.


"Here, undoubtedly, is to be found the primary difference between Orthodox
and Papal ecclesiology."


 

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That's precisely what Fr. Cleenewert said, Irish Hermit. Why did you think his book needed a "counter balance"?
 

Achronos

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Can I ask a general theosis question or should I just make a new thread? It's not really related to the thread topic...
 

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Sleeper said:
Forgive me for the lengthy quote, but Fr. Cleenewert says this much better than I.  I also realize that he's not a "Church Father" so many might just dismiss him as another "modern theologian" whom we can ignore, but I believe it to be germane to the subject at hand, since this is ultimately an issue of ecclesiology.

Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi is a powerful and truthful maxim. We learn a lot about a community’s beliefs and consciousness by studying its prayer life. As we have seen, the Orthodox Churches consider liturgical tradition to be a basic and reliable manifestation of doctrine. With this principle in mind, what the liturgy of St. Basil has to say about the unity of the Church is quite relevant. The passage in question is part of a post-epiclesis prayer (therefore a very solem one):

Cause the schisms in the Church to cease...

If our question is “Can His Body be broken?” the answer given by St. Basil seems to be, yes. He himself experienced the consequences of the Arian heresy and was the sorrowful witness of many tragic splits. We may therefore say that the (local) Church can go through periods of apparent schism or even heresy when one wonders who the true bishop is and where the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church can be found. Sometimes, the confusion is temporary and does not lead to a lasting schism, both within the catholic Church and in the common union. But there are thresholds and circumstances when the schism becomes organic and permanent.


This would be the same St. Basil who wrote the 'First Canonical Epistle of St. Basil', yes? So, if we wish to understand what St. Basil meant by his brief reference to schism in one place, the most obvious place to start would be to look at what he says about schism in other places (particularly if the 'other place' has been universally received by the Church via an Ecumenical council), yes?

And there we find that St. Basil starts off by clearly distinguishing heresies and schisms: "By heresies they [the ancient authorities] meant men who were altogether broken off and alienated in matters relating to the actual faith; by schisms men who had separated for some ecclesiastical reasons and questions capable of mutual solution." Therefore, I'm not sure how Fr. Cleenewert justifies tossing 'even heresy' into a discussion that is supposedly based on St. Basil's reference to schisms.

Then, after some words about the Fathers attitudes towards heretics (and converts therefrom), St. Basil continues on about schisms: "the origin of separation arose through schism, and those who had apostatized from the Church had no longer on them the grace of the Holy Spirit, for it ceased to be imparted when the continuity was broken. The first separatists had received their ordination from the Fathers, and possessed the spiritual gift by the laying on of their hands. But they who were broken off had become laymen, and, because they are no longer able to confer on others that grace of the Holy Spirit from which they themselves are fallen away, they had no authority either to baptize or to ordain. And therefore those who were from time to time baptized by them, were ordered, as though baptized by laymen, to come to the church to be purified by the Church's true baptism."

So St. Basil clearly states that heretics are 'altogether broken off and alienated', and schismatics have no true baptism and no ability to confer the Grace of the Holy Spirit. And yet Fr. Cleenewert thinks that St. Basil's prayer opens the door to the question 'Can the pre-eternal Church be made manifest where there is heresy, schism?' and that 'what happened to the worldwide communion of Churches, however tragic, is only organizational - indeed a political - issue.'

If I say, '1+1=2. And 1+2 does not equal 4,' and you come along and say '1+1=2, and therefore 1+2=4', then two thing are clearly true. One is that you cannot cite my support for the proposition that 1+1=2 as support for your conclusion that 1+2=4. And the other is that one of us clearly misunderstands what the relationship of 1, 2, and 3 is. In this case, my money is firmly on St. Basil, and the Ecumenical Council that made his letter an official document of the Universal Church, as correctly understanding the implications of his own prayer as opposed to Fr. Cleenewert.

In fact, most of the rest of Fr. Cleenewert's argument is a large bait-and-switch. (Prefigured by his lining up heresy, schism, corruption and sin in parallel when in fact the Patristic answer to the question is sharply different when asked of 'corruption and sin' as opposed to 'heresy and schism'). He cites St. Basil's prayer for 'schisms in the Church' and two examples of such from the early period and then tries to leap from there to the schism between East and West, ignoring the crucial distinction between 'in' and 'from'.

The Meletian schism is an example of the type of schism 'in the Church' of which examples can be found throughout history. Bishops A and B are out of communion. Bishop C is in communion with A, Bishop D is communion with B, and therefore bishops C and D are also out of communion. But bishops C and D are both still in communion with bishops E, F, and G. In other words, while there is a visible problem within the Body, there is still only One Body, not two clearly separate communions with no sacramental bond at all. Thus it can be clearly distinguished from the Novation schism (which St. Basil specifically cites as an example in his letter) where there were the Churches in communion with Pope Cornelius on the one side, and the schismatics in communion with Novatian on the other side--two visibly distinct and definable bodies.

Based on the Meletian schism (and others like it), many have pointed out that 1054 is at best a useful historical marker and not a true 'bright line' for when Rome left the Church. Bishops A and B (Rome and Constantinople) were out of communion but there were bishops/patriarchs C and D who tried to retain communion with both.  So Rome in 1064 or 1084 was no more completely outside the Church than Bishop Paulicius was. But the analogy eventually breaks down. The Meletian schism (and other schsims 'in' the Church) was healed within a generation or two. The Roman schism on the other hand was not healed, but continued to deepen until it reached the point where, as with the Novations, there were two visibly distinct and definable bodies marking a clear schism 'from' the Church. (And that's only if one takes the postion that the filioque and papal doctrines developed by Rome since the schism are not actually heretical, 'alienated in matters relating to the actual faith').

(And the Pope Stephen-St. Cyprian example is even less on point. I don't recall at the moment if Pope Stephen ever went through with his threat to break communion, but St. Cyprian and the Church of Carthage, in their synodal response to the controversy, specifically stated that they were *not* breaking communion with anyone. So in that case there was never even a mutual break in communion between Rome and Carthage much less a division into separate Stephenite and Cyprian communions).
 

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Sleeper said:
That's precisely what Fr. Cleenewert said, Irish Hermit. Why did you think his book needed a "counter balance"?
The Priest Cleeenewerk denies the traditional orthodox understanding of "Church" when he says "the idea that salvation is tied to a particular worldwide organism becomes obsolete."

He also denies that Orthodoxy is the Church when he claims that Francis of Assisi was a member of the Church.  Our Church denies this and so, by the Priest Cleenewerck's reasoning, that kind of exclusiveness would place us outside the Church as he conceives it or at the very least it places a question mark over Orthodox membership in the Church.




 

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Sleeper said:
That's precisely what Fr. Cleenewert said, Irish Hermit. Why did you think his book needed a "counter balance"?
Actually Fr. Cleenewert's reasoning completely abandons the conciliar model emphasized by St. Justin. For St. Justin (and the 3rd century Fathers), "the local Church contains in itself the fullness of means of grace, sanctification and salvation". But contra Fr. Cleenewert, this catholicity was fully bound up with the local Church's unity with all the other local Churches maintaining the same fullness (St. Justin's 'conciliarity'). Any break in the full communion was a serious problem, an injury to the Church, that needed to be addressed by the bishops working in council with one another--and if any group removed itself completely from that conciliarity, it removed itself from the Catholic Church. But according to Fr. Cleenewert's reasoning, such breaks in communion were 'merely' political with no relevance to salvation. A single local diocese could wander off completely on its own, break communion with everyone, completely remove itself from the conciliar model--and yet still be 'the Catholic Church' without possessing any conciliar aspect at all.
 

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Achronos said:
Can I ask a general theosis question or should I just make a new thread? It's not really related to the thread topic...
One suggestion.... if you think it is not the right place here, then click on theosis in the tags at the page bottom and see if it fits into any of the other threads.
 

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Dear Sleeper,

How widely does Fr Cleenewerck interpret the word "Church"?  At the moment I would think that he includes:

1.  The Orthodox Church
2.  The Oriental Orthodox Church
3.  The Assyrian Church of the East
4.  The Roman Catholic Church
5.  The Anglican/Episcopalian Church
6.  The Lutheran Church
7.  The Old Catholic Church
8.  The Polish National Catholic Church
9.  All the many dissident Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

Would it be fair to say that in his estimation all these Churches comprise the "One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church"?
 

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He defines it thus: 

"The Church of Christ is first and foremost an eternal, divine and human organism - the Body of Christ, a unity of many that transcends space and time. The Church of Christ, like the Eucharist (which is also the Body of Christ), is manifested by the Holy Spirit in space and time. It intersects with our reality and is revealed in the catholic Church. The catholic Church, the “whole Church,” is the local Eucharistic assembly, presided over by its bishop who is the icon of the Father, steward of Christ, and as St. Peter, primate of the assembly and symbol of unity. This simultaneous manifestation of the catholic Church in many places at the same time calls for a manifestation of identity and communion between all the catholic Churches. This so-called “universal Church” (or “Catholic Church” or “common union”), inasmuch as the political realities of our world permit its manifestation, should express the unity of the common union of Churches. This unity is made possible by the existence of a worldwide primate as visible symbol of unity, not unlike to bishop of the (local) catholic Church, but functionally, not ontologically."

In other words, precisely what St. Justin Popovic said.

What do you and Witega say in regards to the churches founded by St. Thomas in India, since they were completely isolated geographically and politically from Rome and Constantinople? Were they not manifestations of the One, Holy, Catholic & Apostolic Church?
 

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Sleeper said:
He defines it thus:  

"The Church of Christ is first and foremost an eternal, divine and human organism - the Body of Christ, a unity of many that transcends space and time. The Church of Christ, like the Eucharist (which is also the Body of Christ), is manifested by the Holy Spirit in space and time. It intersects with our reality and is revealed in the catholic Church. The catholic Church, the “whole Church,” is the local Eucharistic assembly, presided over by its bishop who is the icon of the Father, steward of Christ, and as St. Peter, primate of the assembly and symbol of unity. This simultaneous manifestation of the catholic Church in many places at the same time calls for a manifestation of identity and communion between all the catholic Churches. This so-called “universal Church” (or “Catholic Church” or “common union”), inasmuch as the political realities of our world permit its manifestation, should express the unity of the common union of Churches. This unity is made possible by the existence of a worldwide primate as visible symbol of unity, not unlike to bishop of the (local) catholic Church, but functionally, not ontologically."

In other words, precisely what St. Justin Popovic said.
Saint Justin would be turning in his grave to hear that the Priest Cleenewerck asserts:  "This unity is made possible by the existence of a worldwide primate as visible symbol of unity, not unlike to bishop of the (local) catholic Church, but functionally, not ontologically."

If there is no unity without a "worldwide primate" then The Priest Cleenewerck is saying that the Orthodox Church is excluded from the unity of the Church.  We have no such primate.  Never did have and never will.  

Some might be tempted to whisper the big-H word about such an assertion.  The ecclesiology of Fr Cleenewerck seems incompatible with orthodox ecclesiology.

Here are the words of Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) who is the doyen of Russian theologians and always heads our delegations to Orthodox-Catholic dialogue.   

Metropolitan  Hilarion, speaking to "Inside The Vatican", 15 November 2007:

"We do not have any theology of the Petrine office on the level of the
Universal Church. Our ecclesiology does not have room for such a concept.
This is why the Orthodox Church has for centuries opposed the idea of the
universal jurisdiction of any bishop, including the Bishop of Rome.

"We recognize that there is a certain order in which the primates of the
Local Churches should be mentioned. In this order the Bishop of Rome
occupied the first place until 1054, and then the primacy of order in the
Orthodox Church was shifted to the Patriarch of Constantinople, who until
the schism had been the second in order. But we believe that all primates of
the Local Churches are equal to one another, and none of them has
jurisdiction over any other."


From
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1925822/posts

And elsewhere he speaks even more strongly of the Russian Church NEVER accepting any concept of global primacy.
 

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More from Fr. Cleenewert's book (now that I'm back home :)):

If we search the New Testament for every occurrence of the word "Church" (or "Churches"), we an quickly get a picture of what it is that God established "by the price of the blood of his own Son." Essentially, the Church is an eschatological reality that transcends space and time. It could be said that God knows, foreknows and has a relationship with our eternal self. He knows his elect from "before the foundation of the world." The early Christian (and therefore orthodox) doctrine of the "pre-existence" of the Church is well established. For instance, the Shepherd of Hermas teaches that "She (the Church) was the first of all creation and the world was made for her." The early homily known as 2 Clement was even more explicit, "Moreover, the books and the Apostles declare that the Church belongs not to the present, but existed from the beginning."

In the perspective of our experience of time, of our eon or "age," the Church is the "body of Christ," the means by which temporal creatures can be united to the eternal God-Man, and become "partakers of the divine nature" now and in "the age to come." The purpose of the Church is that many creatures would be one with God the Father in Jesus Christ, so that "God may be all in all." The Church is the means by which human beings can enter in this new mode of existence not "born of the flesh" but "of the Spirit." This is what we can call "the eschatological, pre-eternal, fulfilled or supra-temporal Church."


Again, what I would like to emphasize here is the risk of equating (and confusing) the eschatological Church with the sum of all the local Churches in existence on earth at one particular point in time, i.e., the so-called "universal Church." The idea that all Christians alive on earth form a universal organism or society called "Church" seems to be at the heart of Roman Catholic ecclesiology. In this view, the Church, the "whole Church" is first and foremost "the faithful everywhere." The unity of the Church then depends on all the local Churches being joined to their ontological head, the Roman Church, to form a single body called "the Catholic Church."

The part in red, unless I'm misunderstanding the both of you (Irish Hermit and Witega), is how you are seeming to define the Church, since you disagree with Fr. Cleenewert. Do you reject the notion that the catholic Church is in and of itself a whole, complete unit, the very One, Holy, Catholic & Apostolic Church confessed in the creed, in and of itself? Or do you view them as "parts of the whole" in which case separation from the "whole" would indeed cause one to be outside the Church?

I suppose I don't see how you reconcile the eucharistic ecclesiology held by the early Church with the notion that the catholic whole units aren't really whole unless part of the superstructure.
 

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Irish Hermit said:
Sleeper said:
He defines it thus:  

"The Church of Christ is first and foremost an eternal, divine and human organism - the Body of Christ, a unity of many that transcends space and time. The Church of Christ, like the Eucharist (which is also the Body of Christ), is manifested by the Holy Spirit in space and time. It intersects with our reality and is revealed in the catholic Church. The catholic Church, the “whole Church,” is the local Eucharistic assembly, presided over by its bishop who is the icon of the Father, steward of Christ, and as St. Peter, primate of the assembly and symbol of unity. This simultaneous manifestation of the catholic Church in many places at the same time calls for a manifestation of identity and communion between all the catholic Churches. This so-called “universal Church” (or “Catholic Church” or “common union”), inasmuch as the political realities of our world permit its manifestation, should express the unity of the common union of Churches. This unity is made possible by the existence of a worldwide primate as visible symbol of unity, not unlike to bishop of the (local) catholic Church, but functionally, not ontologically."

In other words, precisely what St. Justin Popovic said.
Saint Justin would be turning in his grave to hear that the Priest Cleenewerck asserts:  "This unity is made possible by the existence of a worldwide primate as visible symbol of unity, not unlike to bishop of the (local) catholic Church, but functionally, not ontologically."

If there is no unity without a "worldwide primate" then The Priest Cleenewerck is saying that the Orthodox Church is excluded from the unity of the Church.  We have no such primate.  Never did have and never will.  

Some might be tempted to whisper the big-H word about such an assertion.  The ecclesiology of Fr Cleenewerck seems incompatible with orthodox ecclesiology.

Here are the words of Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) who is the doyen of Russian theologians and always heads our delegations to Orthodox-Catholic dialogue.    

Metropolitan  Hilarion, speaking to "Inside The Vatican", 15 November 2007:

"We do not have any theology of the Petrine office on the level of the
Universal Church. Our ecclesiology does not have room for such a concept.
This is why the Orthodox Church has for centuries opposed the idea of the
universal jurisdiction of any bishop, including the Bishop of Rome.

"We recognize that there is a certain order in which the primates of the
Local Churches should be mentioned. In this order the Bishop of Rome
occupied the first place until 1054, and then the primacy of order in the
Orthodox Church was shifted to the Patriarch of Constantinople, who until
the schism had been the second in order. But we believe that all primates of
the Local Churches are equal to one another, and none of them has
jurisdiction over any other."


From
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1925822/posts

And elsewhere he speaks even more strongly of the Russian Church NEVER accepting any concept of global primacy.
I can see that my quoting of this book is only confusing people more, so I'll stop now. I encourage you to read the whole thing yourself, Priest Ambrose (is that what we're calling Orthodox priests now, instead of "Father"?)

Actually, I'll end with one more, to maybe clarify where FATHER Cleenewert is coming from.

I am quite certain that this title "Peter, head of the catholic Church" may cause jubilation among Roman Catholics and consternation among some of my fellow Orthodox Christians. How can an Orthodox theologian write such a thing? The reason is quite simple. If we have a correct understanding of what the catholic Church is, we shall be able to think with the mind of the Fathers on this issue, without being affected by the so-called "Peter syndrome" or "unreasonable dread."

We have already expressed primitive Orthodox ecclesiology with this formula:

INCARNATION > EUCHARIST <> CATHOLIC CHURCH > PETER > PRESIDENT-BISHOP = ESSENTIAL/ONTOLOGICAL/DIVINE ORDER

By comparison, it is significant that in Jesus, Peter and the Keys (a Roman Catholic book), the introduction by Kenneth Howell offers the universalist equivalent in which the bishop is unavoidably absorbed by the papacy: INCARNATION > CHURCH > PAPACY

The major difference, as we can see, resides in what we mean by Church. If the Church is in fact a universal, worldwide organism or society, then the Roman Catholic model makes sense. Orthodox scholar Alexander Schmemann was very lucid on this point:

"If the Church is a universal organism, she must have at her head a universal bishop as the focus of her unity and the organ of supreme power. The idea, popular in Orthodox apologetics, that the Church can have no visible head because Christ is her invisible head is theological nonsense. If applied consistently, it should also eliminate the necessity for the visible head of each local Church, i.e. the bishop."

Of course, saying that St. Peter is the "head" of the catholic Church or that the Patriarch of Moscow is the "head" of the Russian Orthodox Church requires some clarification. This headship is that of a representative or primate, according to the spirit of the 34th apostolic canon which reads:

"It is the duty of the bishops of every ethnic area to know who among them is the first, and to recognize him as their head, and to refrain from doing anything unnecessary without his advice and approval. Instead, each bishop should do only whatever is necessitated by his own district and by the territories under him. But let not [the primate] do anything without the advice and consent and approval of all. For only thus there can be concord, and will God be glorified through the Lord..."

It is beyond the scope of this study to present a full blown analyisis of the strength and weaknesses of both Eucharistic and universal ecclesiology. I have tried, however, briefly, to show that the New Testament and pre-Nicene use of "Church," "whole Church" and "catholic Church" assumes Eucharistic ecclesiology.


- His Broken Body, pg. 78-79 in the Kindle version
 

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Sleeper said:
Do you reject the notion that the catholic Church is in and of itself a whole, complete unit, the ver yconfessed in the creed, in and of itself? Or do you view them as "parts of the whole" in which case separation from the "whole" would indeed cause one to be outside the Church?

I suppose I don't see how you reconcile the eucharistic ecclesiology held by the early Church with the notion that the catholic whole units aren't really whole unless part of the superstructure.
When we recite “I believe in One, Holy, Catholic & Apostolic Church” in our parish I would swear that not one parishioner means “I believe in One, Holy, Catholic & Apostolic Church which is our diocese headed by Metropolitan Hilarion.”
 

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Irish Hermit said:
Sleeper said:
Do you reject the notion that the catholic Church is in and of itself a whole, complete unit, the ver yconfessed in the creed, in and of itself? Or do you view them as "parts of the whole" in which case separation from the "whole" would indeed cause one to be outside the Church?

I suppose I don't see how you reconcile the eucharistic ecclesiology held by the early Church with the notion that the catholic whole units aren't really whole unless part of the superstructure.
When we recite “I believe in One, Holy, Catholic & Apostolic Church” in our parish I would swear that not one parishioner means “I believe in One, Holy, Catholic & Apostolic Church which is our diocese headed by Metropolitan Hilarion.”
Hopefully some of them are at least having the pre-eternal, eschatological Church in mind, and not "the faithful everywhere on earth right now."

At any rate, is it safe to assume, then, that you define "Church" in the "universal" way, i.e, Roman Catholic ecclesiology? Because I'm still not quite understanding what your bone of contention is with FATHER Cleenewert.
 

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Sleeper said:
Priest Ambrose (is that what we're calling Orthodox priests now, instead of "Father"?
It is not really correct to write “Father” for a priest or monk unless you are addressing him directly or speaking of him as the “Father” of his community.

At other times he should be addressed by his identifying rank in the Church.

Bishop Tikhon (emeritus of San Francisco) is a great stickler for this.

My personal opinion is that priests who are known authors and academics can be identified simply by their surname as is the norm in academia.  But there are some Orthodox who are offended by that.
 
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