Friday, January 17, 2014

Some Major Differences In Catholic and Orthodox Doctrine

Last night, in our ecumenical discussion group, I once again heard a Catholic say that after all, we have no significant theological differences.  Many Catholics, if not most, seem to have been taught this.  It is false, and I thought it useful to show, very briefly, why.  So here are just a few of the major differences.

We deny the papal claim to supremacy, except in an honorary sense.  (Our patriarchs are in no sense intended to be rival popes, nor to be thought of in that way.)   You Catholics wouldn't consider that an insignificant difference, would you? 

We deny the papal claim to infallibility.  And these two denials are not mere isolated objections.  As if they were not major enough in themselves, they reflect a whole different ecclesiology (doctrine of the Church).  We differ on what the Church is and how she operates, how she is governed, and the role she plays in our lives.   Is this a small difference?

We object to the doctrine of the Filioque.  Usually this seems to people abstruse, arcane, and nit-picking, yet its consequences are concrete, profound, and far-reaching.  The Filioque is built upon a whole different triadology (doctrine of the Holy Trinity) from the Orthodox one.  This means we have two different understandings of who God is, no small matter in itself, but which in turn results in two different, in some points conflicting, kinds of devotional life.  The Filioque also has, from the Orthodox point of view, wrong ecclesiological implications.

"Palamism", to use the wildly inaccurate Catholic pejorative term, also divides us.  What St. Gregory Palamas was defending so vigorously, bottom line, was the fact that the Christian can and does have direct, personal experience of God, a point denied by scholasticism. Obviously this is not a trivial issue, but it is only one of the implications of what St. Gregory fought for.  I once made a list of reasons it was important, and as I recall, there were 13 items on it.

I hope this is enough to show you that whole systems are at variance and at stake in our Catholic-Orthodox dialogue.  But there is much, much more.  This morning I picked up the Catechism of the Catholic Church and five times opened it to a random page, and five times found there some divergence from Orthodox teaching.  The CCC is flat-out wrong when it states, "With the Orthodox Churches, this communion [with the Catholics] is so profound "that it lacks little to attain the fullness that would permit a common celebration of the Lord's Eucharist." (838)

It is far from true and what really bugs me (and other Orthodox Christians, you can be sure) is that, not lacking in sophisticated, informed, and intelligent scholars, Rome has got to know it is false.  How are we supposed to have any real dialogue in the face of that?

6 comments:

Unknown said...

Did you take this person to task for his statement?

You ask how can we have dialogue in the face of such blatant displays of falsehood? The answer is that we're not supposed to have a real dialogue. For the RC, it's about submission to them and their pope and their doctrine without exception and without condition. But they CAN'T say that, otherwise their enterprise will fail.

It should bother Orthodox that many Catholics think this way and are being taught this by their hierarchy and clergy, but what's worse is that there are many Orthodox who feel that the time for rapprochement with the Catholics is here and that the usual "stumbling blocks" like doctrine and practice shouldn't be barriers anymore. I remember a bishop (who recently died) in the Ruso-Carpathian Church (I'm going off of my faulty memory here) even in a sermon said that now is the time for reunion between Catholics and Orthodox. It got huge applause from the congregation.

So, we have our issues too, but at least we Orthodox are not lying and saying nothing separates us.

Anam Cara said...

I think it would be wonderful to have reunion with the Catholics. But it could only happen if they go back to the pre-schism teachings and doctrines. Orthodoxy has never changed, Catholicism did. It's back to the basics and original to get to the point of reunion.

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Dear Unknown,

No I kept my mouth shut. This person has been in "dialogue" with Orthodox for many years, and I do not know whether he is being disingenuous or just dense, but in either case, saying something wouldn't have done eny good.

It's very hard not to have the suspicions you spell out.

Dear Anam Cara,

Agreed, as usual!

Anonymous said...

I'm Roman Catholic and I am in complete agreement with you regarding the dishonesty that modern Catholics have held ecumenical dialogue.

The traditional belief of the Catholic Church, which has not changed with the fashions and made infamous Vatican II, is as follows: the Pope, as from the beginning, not a despot who arrogates to itself the right to change what Christ and the Church has always said for the salvation of souls. The Pope is the servant of the servants of God, physically audible voice of Christ that still echoes in this world that can not ever change.

When Blessed Pope Pius IX declared the dogma of papal infallibility, he did reaffirm, forever, always followed a doctrine, since the Council of Jerusalem, that Peter (the Pope) speaks for Christ, not to allow heretics they could change the Church. Papal infallibility is actually the infallibility of Christ, not the man who became Pope.

It is unacceptable for a Catholic really think the Pope can change whatever you want in Doctrine. Doctrines were divinely revealed since the time of the apostles by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The dogmas were proclaimed after the schism were proclaimed to reaffirm truths that were being threatened by traitors infiltrated in the Church. All Catholic doctrines are, in some way, followed by the Orthodox, not with the same names, however.

What Catholics believe is wrong in orthodox: a stubborn denial of the primacy of the Pope over the Church Universal; permission and, in some cases of second marriages. Such beliefs are condemned in the Bible.

Pope comforts the brothers in the Faith of Christ (Luke 22:32) and intervenes in cases of heresy in Particular Churches. In practice of the universal Church, not in Latin, the Pope does the same as the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, because Christians are not subject to the law or anyone but Christ. Lawbreakers who should respond to, by Christ's authority divinely free estabelicida, not the saints.

Marriage is inviolable, can not be canceled except by union with non-Christians, as Matthew 19 and I Conríntios 7 says.

However, such truths are not fully followed by the popes since the Second Vatican Council. This council broke with the tradition of the Church, although in a very subtle way, and eventually founded another church, modern. The fruits of this new church are deplorable, only took apostasy and destruction to places that were once Catholics. Now the Popes since 1962 just ignoring the constant talk of Christ by all Popes Saints of St. Peter to Pius XII, in exchange for a false ecumenism that has been denounced and condemned with full force by Pope Pius XI in the encyclical Mortalium Animum.

Therefore, all of us, Catholics and Orthodox, we do have a lot in common, missing little compared to the whole, for a full comuhão, and this is what the Lord wants, because we are all the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church founded by Christ, separated by pride and demonic snares. But things are not like the modern church, ecumenical says. Is not a promising dialogue as the current Rome is not honest while not recognizing the errors of modernism and do not want a real union with the Orthodox Churches without sacrificing the divinely revealed truths.

Not good a union with Rome while Rome has a pope in practice (not speech) that is authoritarian claims to be right now and that the predecessors were wrong.

The Pope is the servant of the servants of God, is the Vicar of Christ, can only say what Christ says, what the Church animated by the Spirit of Christ says. The Pope can never change what Christ said, you can never change the doctrine that Christ left. The Pope must ensure that what Christ wants the Church fulfills this is papal infallibility, obey Christ and see that all Christians obeçam Christ, because Christ is the Pope infallible and can only speak dogmatically that Christ speaks ! A pope, because, who does not speak that Christ speaks, speaks for itself and is in no way infallible.

José Carneiro

Anonymous said...

Ask humble apologies for spelling mistakes certainly found in the previous review. I'm from Brazil and do not know good or Portuguese, let alone English ... So I wrote the comment in Portuguese and put it in Google translator, which does not translate very well.

Anonymous said...

This is the original comment in Portuguese:Como católico romano, estou de pleno acordo no que diz respeito à desonestidade com que os católicos modernos têm realizado o diálogo ecumênico.

A Doutrina Católica, que não mudou com as modas como fez o terrível concílio Vaticano II, é a seguinte: o Papa, como desde o início, não é um déspota que se arroga ao direito de mudar aquilo que Cristo e a Igreja sempre disseram para a salvação das almas. O Papa é o servo dos servos de Deus, a voz fisicamente audível de Cristo que ecoa ainda neste mundo, que jamais pode mudar.

Quando o Beato Papa Pio IX declarou o dogma da infalibilidade papal, ele o fez para reafirmar, para todo o sempre, uma doutrina sempre seguida, desde o Concílio de Jerusalém, de que Pedro (Papa) fala por Cristo, para não permitir que hereges conseguissem mudar a Igreja. A infalibilidade papal é, na verdade, a infalibilidade de Cristo, não do homem que se tornou Papa.

É inaceitável para um católico de verdade achar que o Papa pode mudar o que quiser na Doutrina. As Doutrinas foram divinamente reveladas desde o tempo dos apóstolos pelo Espírito Santo, em Pentecostes. Os dogmas que foram proclamados depois do cisma foram proclamados para reafirmar verdades que estavam sendo ameaçadas por traidores infiltrados na Igreja. Todas as doutrinas católicas são, de alguma forma, seguidas pelos ortodoxos, não com os mesmos nomes, porém.

O que os católicos consideram errado nos ortodoxos é: a negação contumaz da primazia do Papa sobre a Igreja Universal; e a permissão, em alguns casos, das segundas uniões. Tais crenças são condenadas na Bíblia.

O Papa, como Pedro convertido, conforta os irmãos na fé (Lucas 22,32) e intervém em casos de heresias nas Igrejas Particulares. Na prática da Igreja Universal, não da Latina, o Papa faz o mesmo que o Patriarca Ecumênico de Constantinopla, porque os cristãos não estão sujeitos à lei ou a alguém senão a Cristo. Os transgressores da lei que devem responder à autoridade divinamente estabelecida, não os santos, livres por Cristo.

O matrimônio é inviolável, não pode ser anulado, exceto por união com não cristãos, como diz Mateus 19 e I Coríntios 7.

No entanto, tais verdades não são integralmente seguidas pelos Papas desde o concílio Vaticano II. Este concílio rompeu com a Tradição da Igreja, embora de forma muito sutil, e acabou fundando uma outra igreja, moderna. Os frutos desta nova igreja são deploráveis, só levou destruição e apostasia aos lugares que outrora eram católicos. Ora, os papas desde 1962 acabaram ignorando a fala constante de Cristo por todos os Papas santos de São Pedro a Pio XII, em troca de um falso ecumenismo já denunciado e condenado com toda a força pelo Papa Pio XI na Encíclica Mortalium Animum.

Portanto, nós, católicos e ortodoxos, temos sim muito em comum, faltando pouco, se comparado ao todo, para uma plena comunhão, e é isto o que quer o Senhor, pois todos somos da Igreja Una, Santa, Católica e Apostólica fundada por Cristo, separadas por orgulhos e insídias demoníacas. Mas as coisas não são como a igreja moderna, ecumenista, diz. Não é possível um diálogo promissor enquanto a atual Roma não for honesta, enquanto não reconheça os erros do modernismo e não queira uma autêntica união com as Igrejas Ortodoxas sem sacrificar as verdades divinamente reveladas.
Não é bom uma união com Roma enquanto Roma tiver um papa que na prática (não no discurso) é autoritário e diz ser certo hoje e que os antecessores estavam errados.

O Papa é o servo dos servos de Deus, é o Vigário de Cristo, só pode dizer o Cristo diz, o que a Igreja animada pelo Espírito de Cristo diz. O Papa nunca pode mudar o que Cristo disse, nunca pode mudar a Doutrina que Cristo deixou. O Papa deve zelar para que o que Cristo quer, a Igreja cumpra; esta é a infalibilidade papal: obedecer a Cristo e cuidar para que todos os cristãos obedeçam a Cristo, porque Cristo é o infalível e o Papa só pode falar dogmaticamente o que Cristo fala! Um papa, pois, que não fala o que Cristo fala, fala por si mesmo e não é, de modo algum, infalível.

José Carneiro