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  1. #71
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    Re: Eastern Orthodox Christianity

    Quote Originally Posted by Castus View Post
    Demophon, have you ever considered that the cause of your wandering may be that you are, in fact, trying to fit a square peg into a round hole? It seems to me -- and feel free to correct me -- that what you're looking for is a high liturgical expression of Christianity which at the same time allows for progressive social viewpoints on homosexuality et al. Those do exist, but not within Roman Catholicism or Orthodox Christianity.
    Oh yeah, I consider that quite regularly. There are times when I regret leaving the Anglican Church, which I actually found much more liturgically satisfying. I've switched to a Catholic divinity school, so I thought I would stay where I am at least until I finish my degree, then re-evaluate my life choices. I'm also really involved at my parish, and have good friends there, so it would be hard to leave.

    I'm not sure there is no room at all for inclusive spaces in the Catholic Church. A Jesuit parish here in town is very LGBT-inclusive, and hosts a Mass once a month especially for its LGBT community. I haven't been very often, as it's not very important to me to have liturgies that specifically cater to one demographic, but it's nice to know they exist. I was also honest with the priest who received me into the Church, and I told him I wasn't interested in becoming Catholic if LGBT people aren't welcome. He was very supportive himself, and said it depends on the parish for that kind of thing. The kind of Catholicism I've been exposed to is not as narrow as the Church often presents itself to be.

    When it comes to certain teachings, like those of sexual ethics, they are authoritative doctrines, not dogmas, and not infallible. While the Church encourages people to respond to these magisterial teachings with assent and docility, it really comes down to individual conscience. It's a post-Vatican II Church headed by Pope Francis that we're talking about.

    Oddly, I'm not often attracted to socially progressive religious communities. The Catholic parish that I attend now is pretty mainline and moderate, but my initial attraction to joining the Catholic Church was through the Ordinariate for former Anglicans, which is quite conservative, and even the high church Anglican parish I attended the most regularly didn't allow women priests to preside. I'm not a crusader for same-sex marriage, I would just prefer the Church to stay out of my sex life, non-existent as it is, currently.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chatelaine View Post
    That's going to be the case, I'm afraid. Sexual activity outside sacramental marriage bars one from the sacraments.
    I doubt people strictly adhere to that on the ground, just like there are plenty of Catholics who have sex before marriage and use contraception, but I take your point. There is no reason to join a Church if I'm just going to break the rules.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chatelaine View Post
    Since you're after particular podcast episodes, I might as well point you to a few discussing the Orthodox take on homosexuality.

    http://www.aoiusa.org/orthodoxy-and-...s-one-and-two/
    http://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts...sex_attraction (transcript available)
    https://www.ancientfaith.com/podcast.../homosexuality
    Great, thanks
    Last edited by Demophon; 25 Jan 2017 at 09:16 PM. Reason: grammar issue

  2. #72
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    Re: Eastern Orthodox Christianity

    Quote Originally Posted by Demophon View Post
    I doubt people strictly adhere to that on the ground, just like there are plenty of Catholics who have sex before marriage and use contraception, but I take your point.
    Of course there are those who don't care for such restrictions, but those don't tend to care for the sacraments either. Every once in a while someone takes to the news in a huff because some mean and horrible Orthodox priest denied them Communion for being in a same-sex marriage, or refused to officiate in an interfaith marriage, and it invariably fizzles out quickly along 'their house, their rules' lines.
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    Re: Eastern Orthodox Christianity

    I listened to these a while ago, so they aren't too fresh in my mind, but I wasn't wildly impressed. It put me off how the host of one of them couldn't even pronounce "Leviticus", and the priests in another one were talking about the gender fluidity of marriage metaphors in the Bible, particularly between God and his "bride", Israel. It's fine if they are steeped in tradition and uncomfortable with change, but they could at least be upfront about it. Making an argument where their own examples contradict the point they were trying to make just doesn't make much sense.

    I never did visit an Orthodox parish for Divine Liturgy. While I do admire the beauty and ancient tradition of the Orthodoxy, I find them too set in very traditional Mediterranean cultures and invented history, rather than the actual ministry of Jesus based in love and justice. The false claims about being a continuation of the early Church when it is actually very much the product of the eastern Roman Empire, and the whole nonsense about St Luke painting the first icon of the Theotokos is just crazy. There's too much of what pagans would call "fakelore." At least the post-Vatican II Catholics have adopted a more realistic view of their history, not the the Romans are perfect, either. It's a lot of the same hierarchy and superstition, and not enough Christ. I should have stuck with the Anglicans

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    Re: Eastern Orthodox Christianity

    Quote Originally Posted by Demophon View Post
    I never did visit an Orthodox parish for Divine Liturgy. While I do admire the beauty and ancient tradition of the Orthodoxy, I find them too set in very traditional Mediterranean cultures and invented history, rather than the actual ministry of Jesus based in love and justice. The false claims about being a continuation of the early Church when it is actually very much the product of the eastern Roman Empire, and the whole nonsense about St Luke painting the first icon of the Theotokos is just crazy. There's too much of what pagans would call "fakelore." At least the post-Vatican II Catholics have adopted a more realistic view of their history, not the the Romans are perfect, either. It's a lot of the same hierarchy and superstition, and not enough Christ. I should have stuck with the Anglicans
    The claim of being a continuation of the early Church is not false; the lineage is there for anyone to see. Even the early Church developed within the context of the Roman Empire - there's no way to divorce a religion from the society and culture around it, not even a fringe sect, let alone what became the state's official religion. Certainly the difference between Holy Tradition and tradition-as-pious-custom can be hard to understand, especially if someone looks at it all with modern eyes and attempts to treat the sticking points as intellectual exercises, rather than spiritual challenges.

    I suspect that a lot of people who grumble about the Church, or any church, inventing stuff that the early Church (or just Christ himself, for the purists) never did/said/meant, are themselves reimagining Christ, and in their own image, to boot.
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    Re: Eastern Orthodox Christianity

    Quote Originally Posted by Chatelaine View Post
    The claim of being a continuation of the early Church is not false; the lineage is there for anyone to see. Even the early Church developed within the context of the Roman Empire - there's no way to divorce a religion from the society and culture around it, not even a fringe sect, let alone what became the state's official religion. Certainly the difference between Holy Tradition and tradition-as-pious-custom can be hard to understand, especially if someone looks at it all with modern eyes and attempts to treat the sticking points as intellectual exercises, rather than spiritual challenges.

    I suspect that a lot of people who grumble about the Church, or any church, inventing stuff that the early Church (or just Christ himself, for the purists) never did/said/meant, are themselves reimagining Christ, and in their own image, to boot.
    I guess we'll have to agree to disagree, as I think it's obvious from the New Testament, and even texts like the Didache, that the Eucharist, and even the role and nature of the bishops, were something very different before Christianity became the religion of the Empire. Bishops were overseers, not high priests, and there was no concept of apostolic succession and they laying on of hands to pass on the apostolic magical powers. The Eucharist was an actual meal of thanksgiving, not consecrated wafers or holy mush in a scoop which a priest has turned into the body of Christ through a magic spell. The extent to which these things changed suggests a pretty radical shift when Roman emperors started getting involved.

    I don't think focusing on the values of the Gospels rather than cultural traditions really constitutes reimagining Christ in one's own image.

  6. #76
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    Re: Eastern Orthodox Christianity

    Quote Originally Posted by Demophon View Post
    I guess we'll have to agree to disagree, as I think it's obvious from the New Testament, and even texts like the Didache, that the Eucharist, and even the role and nature of the bishops, were something very different before Christianity became the religion of the Empire.
    No, not really.

    Quote Originally Posted by Demophon View Post
    Bishops were overseers, not high priests,
    They still are not high priests. I don't know how RC bishops roll, but the Orthodox bishop's job is almost exclusively administrative - running the diocese, representing it in the synod, that kind of thing. The only liturgical function reserved exclusively for bishops is ordination to lesser orders.

    Quote Originally Posted by Demophon View Post
    and there was no concept of apostolic succession
    There was, as early as St Ignatius of Antioch, which was well within the apostolic era. And that's only if you don't count St Paul's appeal to his apostolic authority.


    Quote Originally Posted by Demophon View Post
    and they laying on of hands to pass on the apostolic magical powers.
    What the laying on of hands passes on is legitimacy, official approval, and the responsibilities and accountability of the ordainee's new position. What magical powers did the dean of studies pass on when they handed you your degree?

    Quote Originally Posted by Demophon View Post
    The Eucharist was an actual meal of thanksgiving, not consecrated wafers or holy mush in a scoop which a priest has turned into the body of Christ through a magic spell.
    The agape meal was an actual meal of thanksgiving and fellowship, but it was not the Eucharist. In the very early days, when the faithful were still few, many laypeople were actually allowed to keep the Eucharist in their homes, in reliquaries that later evolved into the tabernacles of modern churches, and the form was indeed little lumps of consecrated wine-soaked bread called margaritai (pearls).

    Quote Originally Posted by Demophon View Post
    The extent to which these things changed suggests a pretty radical shift when Roman emperors started getting involved.
    Or some degree of growth in a living religion. Centuries-old trees don't look remotely like the saplings they started as.

    Quote Originally Posted by Demophon View Post
    I don't think focusing on the values of the Gospels rather than cultural traditions really constitutes reimagining Christ in one's own image.
    Jettisoning Holy Tradition leaves one with only their own understanding to base their interpretation of Scripture on.
    'You created us restless, O Lord, and we find no rest until we rest in You.'
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  7. #77
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    Re: Eastern Orthodox Christianity

    Quote Originally Posted by Chatelaine View Post
    What the laying on of hands passes on is legitimacy, official approval, and the responsibilities and accountability of the ordainee's new position. What magical powers did the dean of studies pass on when they handed you your degree?
    Well, that is not the case in Roman Catholic theology; which is probably what Demophon is referring to. Sacramental theology in Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy are two very different kettles of fish but it isn't unreasonable for someone new to EO to assume that the same principles apply. The Catechism, appropriately enough, explains the Catholic POV:

    Today the word "ordination" is reserved for the sacramental act which integrates a man into the order of bishops, presbyters, or deacons, and goes beyond a simple election, designation, delegation, or institution by the community, for it confers a gift of the Holy Spirit that permits the exercise of a "sacred power" (sacra potestas) which can come only from Christ himself through his Church. Ordination is also called consecratio, for it is a setting apart and an investiture by Christ himself for his Church. The laying on of hands by the bishop, with the consecratory prayer, constitutes the visible sign of this ordination. (CCC 1538)

    The principle of "sacred power(s)", and of the rite of ordination making an indelible mark upon the soul similar to that of baptism, is IIRC derived from St Augustine and is a fairly fundamental building block in regards to the Church's understanding of priestly orders. Once you have been ordained a priest, you're always a priest. Even laicisation technically doesn't make you not-a-priest, it just forbids you to validly exercise the powers of the priestly ministry. As far as I am aware this is radically different from the Orthodox understanding of the priesthood; which doesn't have such an... ontological bent to it.
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  8. #78
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    Re: Eastern Orthodox Christianity

    Quote Originally Posted by Chatelaine View Post
    They still are not high priests. I don't know how RC bishops roll, but the Orthodox bishop's job is almost exclusively administrative - running the diocese, representing it in the synod, that kind of thing. The only liturgical function reserved exclusively for bishops is ordination to lesser orders.

    There was, as early as St Ignatius of Antioch, which was well within the apostolic era. And that's only if you don't count St Paul's appeal to his apostolic authority.

    What the laying on of hands passes on is legitimacy, official approval, and the responsibilities and accountability of the ordainee's new position. What magical powers did the dean of studies pass on when they handed you your degree?

    The agape meal was an actual meal of thanksgiving and fellowship, but it was not the Eucharist. In the very early days, when the faithful were still few, many laypeople were actually allowed to keep the Eucharist in their homes, in reliquaries that later evolved into the tabernacles of modern churches, and the form was indeed little lumps of consecrated wine-soaked bread called margaritai (pearls).

    Or some degree of growth in a living religion. Centuries-old trees don't look remotely like the saplings they started as.

    Jettisoning Holy Tradition leaves one with only their own understanding to base their interpretation of Scripture on.
    You make some valid points, and on some issues we probably won't ever agree. I still think Eastern Orthodox Christianity is an extremely beautiful and deeply spiritual tradition, but I don't think it's compatible with me, at least not at this time. I'm open for that to change if I'm led in that direction, but for now I'm the most comfortable in post Vatican II Roman Catholicism, even if the liturgy is the pits. I'm super jealous of the ancient beauty of Orthodox liturgy, as well as the icons, incense, and chant.

    Quote Originally Posted by Castus View Post
    Well, that is not the case in Roman Catholic theology; which is probably what Demophon is referring to. Sacramental theology in Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy are two very different kettles of fish but it isn't unreasonable for someone new to EO to assume that the same principles apply.
    Thanks, you really know your Catholicism. I guess since the Catholic Church views the Eastern Orthodox Church as sharing the same sacraments, I assumed there was more common ground in their sacramental theology than there actually is.

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    Re: Eastern Orthodox Christianity

    Quote Originally Posted by Demophon View Post
    You make some valid points, and on some issues we probably won't ever agree. I still think Eastern Orthodox Christianity is an extremely beautiful and deeply spiritual tradition, but I don't think it's compatible with me, at least not at this time. I'm open for that to change if I'm led in that direction, but for now I'm the most comfortable in post Vatican II Roman Catholicism, even if the liturgy is the pits. I'm super jealous of the ancient beauty of Orthodox liturgy, as well as the icons, incense, and chant.
    No worries. Orthodoxy is a challenge, and not everyone is ready to take it on. Aesthetics are a big lure, but those who can't connect with the levels beneath the aesthetics won't stay long.

    Quote Originally Posted by Demophon View Post
    Thanks, you really know your Catholicism. I guess since the Catholic Church views the Eastern Orthodox Church as sharing the same sacraments, I assumed there was more common ground in their sacramental theology than there actually is.
    Welcome to the frustration of hearing Orthodoxy summed up as 'basically, like Catholicism without a pope' and having no concise way of explaining to people why that phrase falls so very far from the mark.
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    Re: Eastern Orthodox Christianity

    Quote Originally Posted by Chatelaine View Post
    No worries. Orthodoxy is a challenge, and not everyone is ready to take it on. Aesthetics are a big lure, but those who can't connect with the levels beneath the aesthetics won't stay long.
    There's an authenticity to it that's hard to find even (or, especially) in Rome. This was my first Lent as a Roman Catholic, and I found the Lenten disciplines in my Catholic communities to be lacking. Giving up something silly like chocolate or Facebook while still living normally otherwise doesn't really make a big difference. The only thing the Catholic Church really pushes (but not that strictly) is fasting from meat on Fridays during Lent, which people are supposed to do all year round anyway. It's good that Orthodox Christians basically go vegan during Lent, rather than just eating fish on Fridays and giving up chocolate. Maybe I'll try that next year. Even the Anglicans I know are better at keeping a holy Lent, though I shouldn't say "even" Anglicans, as the high church variety are much more serious about tradition than run of the mill Roman Catholics.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chatelaine View Post
    Welcome to the frustration of hearing Orthodoxy summed up as 'basically, like Catholicism without a pope' and having no concise way of explaining to people why that phrase falls so very far from the mark.
    Yeah, I'm sure that gets annoying, especially in a culture that is predominantly Protestant, and automatically views things like incense and veneration of saints as "Catholic." Maybe over the summer I'll read a bit more deeply about Orthodoxy, as I've mostly just read very general introductory material, and watched Youtube videos that don't explain anything that advanced. From what little I know about Orthodox theology, it makes a lot more sense than western theology. There's no concept of Original Sin, and salvation is more of a process of working towards holiness, etc.

    I am biased against traditions that don't really include homosexuality as part of their worldview, at least, not in a positive way. As priest I know says, the Christian Church likes to talk about a lot of things it doesn't know much about, and sex is one of those things. However, I realize that's a personal bias. I'm not keen when some denominations go too far to the other extreme, such as how the Anglican diocese here has just consecrated three new bishops, two of which are women, and one is a partnered homosexual man. All that is fine, but I've seen posts on Facebook about the new gay bishop wearing rainbow vestments and flamboyant purple shoes, and I think it's in bad taste. As another queer person, I respect that the LGBT community wants to celebrate when one of our own reaches a position like that in an institution where we have traditionally been marginalized, but the all of the holy orders are ministries of service, and it's not supposed to be all about the priest or bishop and their identity. I still think Anglicanism is a beautiful tradition when it's done well, but the broad nature of it makes it so susceptible to being co-opted into whatever people want it to be.

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