Sunday, November 30, 2014


 Pope Francis said the following at the conclusion of Sunday's Eastern Orthodox Divine Liturgy in Istanbul (Constantinople) my comments at the end:

...By happy coincidence, my visit falls a few days after the fiftieth anniversary of the promulgation of Unitatis Redintegratio, the Second Vatican Council’s Decree on Christian Unity.  This is a fundamental document which opened new avenues for encounter between Catholics and their brothers and sisters of other Churches and ecclesial communities.

            In particular, in that Decree the Catholic Church acknowledges that the Orthodox Churches “possess true sacraments, above all – by apostolic succession – the priesthood and the Eucharist, whereby they are still joined to us in closest intimacy” (15).  The Decree goes on to state that in order to guard faithfully the fullness of the Christian tradition and to bring to fulfillment the reconciliation of Eastern and Western Christians, it is of the greatest importance  to preserve and support the rich patrimony of the Eastern Churches.  This regards not only their liturgical and spiritual traditions, but also their canonical disciplines, sanctioned as they are by the Fathers and by Councils, which regulate the lives of these Churches (cf. 15-16).

            I believe that it is important to reaffirm respect for this principle as an essential condition, accepted by both, for the restoration of full communion, which does not signify the submission of one to the other, or assimilation.   Rather, it means welcoming all the gifts that God has given to each, thus demonstrating to the entire world the great mystery of salvation accomplished by Christ the Lord through the Holy Spirit.

 I want to assure each one of you here that, to reach the desired goal of full unity, the Catholic Church does not intend to impose any conditions except that of the shared profession of faith.  

 Further, I would add that we are ready to seek together, in light of Scriptural teaching and the experience of the first millennium, the ways in which we can guarantee the needed unity of the Church in the present circumstances.  The one thing that the Catholic Church desires, and that I seek as Bishop of Rome, “the Church which presides in charity”, is communion with the Orthodox Churches.  Such communion will always be the fruit of that love which “has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (cf. Rom 5:5), a fraternal love which expresses the spiritual and transcendent bond which unites us as disciples of the Lord...

(Read Pope Francis' full statement here.)

My comments:

I doubt that there can be anytime soon full corporate unity with the Orthodox Churches and I emphasize Churches. These are a conglomeration of national Churches in various eastern and western countries. Some are more open to ecumenical dialogue and relations but others are quite hostile to it.

The most important thing that the Eastern Orthodox could do corporately is what the Catholic Church has stated already in Vatican II's Unitatis Redintegratio, the Second Vatican Council’s Decree on Christian Unity about the Catholic Church under the pope. They have not reciprocated and this needs to come first I would think, in terms of our sacramental system and the validity of all our sacraments including Holy Orders.

It seems that the Catholic Church is progressive in acknowledging the validity of all the Sacraments of the Orthodox so much so that we allow Catholics by Church law to receive Holy Communion or any other Sacrament (except of course Holy Orders) when in need or in an emergency, such as there being no Catholic Church available on Sunday and a Catholic attends Divine Liturgy, the Catholic may according to Catholic law receive Holy Communion in the Orthodox Church. However, and this is a big HOWEVER, the Orthodox do not permit us and thus Catholics would do well to respect their wishes in this regard until they officially change their position. (I realize some renegade Orthodox priests might allow it and I suppose in that setting it would be fine to receive).

Keep in mind, though, the Catholic Church's view of the sacraments of the Eastern Orthodox does not apply to any Reformation Church since the sacramental system was destroyed by them at the reformation. This includes the Anglican Communion's sacramental system.

However, the Catholic Church's canon law does permit in unusual situations a Protestant to receive Holy Communion in a Catholic Church under the following strict canons:

1. There is no Protestant Church available for the Protestant to attend.

2. The Protestant who is validly baptized believes what the Catholic Church teaches about the Mass and the Holy Eucharist especially regarding the "real presence" although they may not be aware of or completely understand or use the term "transubstantiation." But it is implied in their personal belief. 

3. The local bishop, after having been petitioned, gives his permission--this is critical folks and cannot be dispensed!

The other way toward true ecumenism is what the Pope of ecumenism established, Pope Benedict that is.

The Anglican Ordinariate is the way toward corporate unity with Protestants. The genius behind this is that the issues surrounding the validity of the Sacraments of the Protestant denominations is thoroughly resolved and what is valid and legitimate in these denominations spirituality, piety and liturgical theology is maintained, the patrimony of what developed after their separation from Rome.

This has the potential of bringing back into full communion Lutherans, Methodists and Presbyterians under a similar ordinariate for them. Thus the breach with the historic Protestant Reformation Churches could be healed and other Protestants could find a home in one of these Ordinariates easily enough!

However, the first order of business must be doing the same with the SSPX and making them completely regular in the Church by removing any canonical suspensions from their bishops and priests and allowing Catholics to freely receive the sacraments in their churches and chapels. This is easier done than solving the issues of unity with the Orthodox and Protestants!


Servimus Unum Deum said...

"However, the first order of business must be doing the same with the SSPX and making them completely regular in the Church by removing any canonical suspensions from their bishops and priests and allowing Catholics to freely receive the sacraments in their churches and chapels. This is easier done than solving the issues of unity with the Orthodox and Protestants!"

Respectfully in disagreement with you Father, absolutely not. The way the SSPX is NOW, compared to prior to Benedict XVI's attempts at reconciliation, is they are anti-Church, anti-Pope (in that they only use him for the Liturgical requirements, but declare him a modernist and pay no obedience to him), and are of the worst offenders for Radical Traditionalism. They do not acknowledge the Vatican II council in its entirety, rejecting it on that 5% or so that loyalists declare is what Lefevbre rejected. You CANNOT reject a Validl ecumenical council, period. They also declare the Novus Ordo, EVIL. Even with the stupid banalities introducted by self-serving priests, the Validly promulgated form/rite of the Catholic Mass is NEVER evil.

Furthermore, attending their liturgies can place you in schismatic state over time. As a lay fatihful, it's my duty to look after my soul and I will not attend even one liturgy of their lest I earn a ticket to hell.

Might I also add that they have taught things to their adherents that simply are not true. In a conversation with a fellow who attends in my area, he calls it a mortal sin to eat meat of fridays. Per 1983 Canon law, 1983 is current. Further find me a document, doctrine or dogma that says that.

Practically, to allow them in no contest, no aggrement to bind them, they would be promoting outright dissent of the orthodox kind, a Protestantism of the right that allows a Catholic to pick and choose what to believe in the faith, albeit of a different nature of liberal heretics. Already traditional Catholicism is loathed by poisoned and brainwashed laity and clergy alike. To let in the worst offenders uncurbed would only embolden the non-SSPX radical traditionalists in the Church, and give them unbridled power and encouragement. We have ENOUGH problems in the Church with renegade Latin Mass leaders and bloggers on the Internet who poison the good name of Traditionalist Catholics. We do not need more damage already, and the emboldening of the Devil's power in what is one of the remaining gifts we have not destroyed in the False "Spirit of Vatican II."

What I can say on my end as a young 31 year old buck trying to fight for the Good Side of Traditionalism against radicals in my service to the Lord, is that I acknowledge their presence maintained the EF in existence, but if they came in unhinged to the Church, I would never attend their liturgies, and Church hierarchy would NOT accept them openly, having such a track record of disobedience and pride, and even anti-Semitist notes. I want my Traditional Catholicism unpoisoned by the Devil's works and sin, not emboldened.

Marc said...

It is exceedingly unlikely that the Orthodox will "reciprocate" and declare Roman Catholic sacraments "valid." Aside from there being no real theology of "validity" in Orthodox dogmatics, doing so would be problematic from an ecclesiological perspective (the Orthodox Church teaches that there are no sacraments outside the Church).

Furthermore, doing so would do damage to the Orthodox Church's teaching regarding Apostolic Succession, which is different from the Roman Catholic teaching in a significant sense: for the Orthodox Church, not only must a bishop receive the laying on of hands from other bishops, he must hold and maintain the faith of the Apostles. So, there are no episcopi vagantes in the Orthodox Church (like the SSPX bishops or the Old Catholic bishops in the Roman Catholic sphere).

So, from that perspective, there is no Apostolic Succession in the modern Roman Catholic Church since the "bishops" are not adhering to the faith of the Apostles having fallen into various heresies over the centuries.

My point here is that to recognize Roman Catholic orders as "valid" is a problematic thing for many intertwined reasons.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Since orthodox bishops are so all over the place and the patriarch acknowledges the pope as the patriarch of the west and bishop of Rome, he is evidently expressing an orthodox view.

Jdj said...

Thanks, Marc. I've never quite understood that point of contention and you explained it well in a nutshell.

Marc said...

Francis is the bishop of Rome in the same sense that the leader of the Anglicans is the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Which pope of the Orthodox declared that?

Marc said...

This is the ecclesiology of the Orthodox Church, which is articulated by St. Cyprian of Carthage.

Aside from that, I don't understand your question.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

You don't understand? No, you understand but can't answer. The orthodox don't have a Peter and this are the unorthodox!

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...


Pater Ignotus said...

Many ecumenical issues are "problematic" for "intertwined" reasons, but that does not mean they are intractable. 100 years ago the divide between Catholics and Lutherans on the theology of justification was surely seen as problematic. With serious effort and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification was agreed to between our communions in 1999.

Catholic-Orthodox dialogue has relatively few major issues to address, while our dialogues with other ecclesial bodies present more thorny divisions. What also impedes reunion with the Orthodox is the almost 1000 years of geopolitical shenanigans that are, unfortunately, part and parcel of the divisions.

Progress, albeit slow, is being made. We can talk to each other about substantive issues. One example: The Filioque: A Church Dividing Issue?: An Agreed Statement. October 2003

Marc said...

Every bishop is the successor of St. Peter.

And, actually, I don't understand your question at all because it is nonsensical.

Gene said...

Sounds like the orthodox have a serious urological problem...

Marc said...

PI, here's the main problem: The Roman Catholic pope has infallibly declared himself to be infallible. Presumably, he could only undo this with an infallible statement. That's a tautology of epic proportions!

But, I agree that the situation is not impossible. There may be relatively few major issues (relative to, say, Catholic-Mormon dialogue), but the issues are more difficult because, unlike Protestants, the Orthodox Church cannot change its doctrine and, as pointed out above, even though Rome does change its doctrine over time, it is difficult to do so in this instance.

Gene said...

"Oh, East is East and West is West,
And never the twain shall meet
'Til earth and sky stand presently
At God's great judgement seat."

from the prophet Kipling

John Nolan said...

Julian Barkin

Rather exaggerated rhetoric for a 31-year-old, don't you think? If the SSPX only has problems with 5% of the Council documents that's good going! The sticking point for Lefebvre was the decree on religious liberty (DH) which was largely drafted by the controversial American Jesuit John Courtney Murray. The final vote (2308 to 70) doesn't reflect the fact that the measure had a rough ride and opinion remains divided to this day.

The SSPX certainly does not believe one can pick and choose when it comes to doctrine; indeed it deplores the 'cafeteria Catholicism' of the post-Conciliar era.

As for 'non-SSPX radical traditionalists' I've yet to encounter one. I suspect they are a product of your somewhat overheated imagination.

Gene said...

Julian, better think again. The SSPX could be many of our destination if things get much worse. This Pope could be to SSPX what Obama has been to gun sales...

George said...


Both the Councils of Ephesus(431) in condemning Nestorius, the Council of Calcedon(451) in condemning the heresy of the Monophysites, and the Council of Constantinople in Monothelistic heresy, upheld quite explicitly the Primacy of Peter- the authority of the Holy See.

Imagine our earthly institutions with out someone in charge, someone leading them. Or a ship without a captain.

There could be no final disposition or binding resolution regarding any one of the great truths of Christianity such as the Trinity and the Incarnation without infallibility. The infallibility of the Holy Father is bound and inseparable from the Church itself. The Church is not a democracy or federation. It is a Divine Kingdom with Christ as its head and the Pope as his earthly representative.

Anonymous said...

Marc, I can understand Fr McDonald's question perfectly and his answer. Every bishop is not the successor of Peter at all. The bishops are the successors of the apostles. and it was on the Rock of Peter that Christ built His Church and said the Gates of Hell would not prevail against Her. Fr McDonald was right when he said you understood the question perfectly well but you didn't have an answer to it because the Orthodox have no Pope.

To state the obvious, what you are overlooking is that the episcopi vagantes is the Orthodox Church from the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Up until the time of the schism the head of the Church was always acknowledged to be the successor of Peter. Try as you might, you cannot rewrite history or truth.


Marc said...

George, there is no question that the Roman See had primacy. From that, it does not follow that the pope of Rome has universal jurisdiction or is infallible.

Jan, every bishop is a successor of St. Peter. The Orhodox don't need a pope, as the 1,000 years of Orthoox history since Rome went into schism indicate quite clearly. So, his question makes no sense because it assumes the Church cannot function without one person at the very top dictating doctrine down--but, the Church has always functioned in this way from the very beginning, which is how the councils all worked.

I agree that the head of the Catholic Church is the successor of St. Peter and that the Church has always taught that. The St. Peter of the Church here is the Metropolitan of Atlanta, His Eminence Archsbishop Alexios.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

What you say is true of all schismatics not just the Orthodox, Lutheran, Anglicans, Presbyterians and Old Cathoics function well in their schismatic states without Peter. But they are still schismatic as are the Orthodox unlike the SSPX who aren't.

Gene said...

But, Fr, protestants have no legitimate claim to Apostolic succession, whereas, both Eastern and Western Catholicism do.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

True, but if the Orthodox applied the absurd belief that Rome went into schism and thus lost all sacraments including Apostolic succession to themselves then they are just like the Protestants. Of course the True fullness of the Church, those united under the Pope make no absurd claim about this in terms of the Orthodox. And since the Orthodox are autocephalous with no central authority, most of them do not make this absurd claim about Catholicism only their fundamentalistic radicals.

Marc said...

Please demonstrate that what I'm saying is a claim made only by fundamentalist radicals.

Pater Ignotus said...

Marc - Why not "demonstrate" that Rome went into schism and not the Orthodox...?

John Nolan said...

The history of the Western Church hinges on the successful bid of the papacy to emancipate itself from lay control. The main weakness of the Eastern Churches lies in their Caesaro-Papalism; the Byzantine emperor and later the Czar of all the Russias effectively controlled the Church. This did not happen in the West - Henry VIII's claim only applied to a schismatic and in due course heretical sect.

There were of course weak popes who allowed themselves to be suborned by the powerful monarchies of Europe (Clement XIV 1769-1744 is a notorious case in point) but they were the exception and not the rule.

Although Vatican II made much of 'ecumenism' the liturgical and theological free-for-all which the Council ushered in have alienated the East still further.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I agree with John and also with PI; it is Marc who has the splaining to do concerning his absurd statements, I mean he has some demonstrating to do 😰

Marc said...

So... you cannot support your accusation. Why not just say that instead of averting the question by switching topics?

I agree with John that there have been historical problems with Caesaro-Papism in the Orthodox Churches. And, as he says, this was a problem in the West as well. I think that when this happened in the West it was more problematic than he says since he led in many ways to the rise of the modern papacy and its claimed prerogatives.

That brings me to the question of who is in schism from whom. This is a question that one must resolve for oneself. There are many reasons why I have come to the conclusion, after years of study, deliberation, and prayer, that Rome is in schism (and heresy). There are historical, as well as theological reasons, that I find to support that position. Put simply, once I got beyond the typical Roman apologetics, I did not find support for the papal claims in the history of the Church or in the Fathers.

Again, though, that conclusion is unrelated to Fr. McDonald's claim that what I am writing is an "absurd claim" only espoused by "fundamentalist radicals." If he is correct, it should be rather easy for him to demonstrate it by reference to some source. Perhaps he has some knowledge of Orthodox doctrine that I lack. If so, I'd like to read it.

John Nolan said...

Marc, the word 'schism' merely defines a division. That there is a formal schism between East and West dating from the beginning of the second millennium is simply a fact. Objectively, therefore, both the Roman and Orthodox Churches are schismatic.

However, since the Church of Christ is theoretically one and indivisible, where a schism exists one side must have broken away; which side it was depends on which side of the schism you find yourself. It doesn't take years of 'deliberation, study and prayer' to work this out.

Marc said...

John, your attempt at semantic deconstruction aside, how would you know whether it takes years of deliberation, study, and prayer to work out which side of the schism is correct?

John Nolan said...

Marc, simply because for all your study, deliberation, prayer or what have you, you are in the end making a purely subjective and private judgement on an issue over which you have neither authority nor competence. Become a Mahometan if you like, it makes no odds.

Pater Ignotus said...

Marc - And after years of deliberation, study, and prayer, how do you know you have arrived at the right conclusion?

I understand there is a subjective element in living out one's faith. But there also the element of objective Truth that has to be discerned.

Infallibility (Papal or Magisterial) is a gift given to the Church so that we can have the assurance that we have reached the right conclusion. Otherwise, each individual believer becomes a Magisterium unto him self or herself.

Marc said...

John and Ignotus, everyone who makes an educated decision about their faith is doing so based on subjective and private judgment. I could say the same about your determination to be Roman Catholic--you remain Roman Catholic because of purely subjective judgment about which you have neither authority or competence (or at least the same authority and competence that I have). Yet, you believe (subjectively) based on your personal evaluation of the evidence (and hopefully after study, deliberation, and prayer) that you have found the true faith in the Roman Catholic Church, and so you remain Roman Catholic.

As for Ignotus's argument about infallibility and the individual being a magisterium of one, I agree completely. Infallibility belongs to the Church. I submit myself to the authority and infallibility of the Church. It happens, though, that the Church does not teach that the pope is infallible. And, as you point out, I know that I have reached the right conclusion because I am relying on the Church's teaching in that regard.

How do I know that I have arrived at the right conclusion? Honestly, it is difficult to put it into words. Primarily, I am convinced by the lives of the saints and the continuity of the doctrine and the tradition.

Православный физик said...

In order for their to be unity with East and West, we need to stop speaking past one another and start understanding each others' theologies and traditions.

A lot of confusion on the papacy between East and West on the papacy really comes down to what we mean by our terminology, and more importantly, what we don't mean.

Supreme in the context of the English language means something superior, or better than something that's below. The Church by no means is implying that the Pope is somehow better than the rest of the Bishops' in the college...Each bishop has equal dignity, but some Bishops' have different functions. The Bishops' as successors to the Apostles each have dignity, but some have different functions (the case of Peter)

Another issue seems to be the tendency of Rome to act extremely slow when it comes to matters regarding discipline. There's a two fold reason for this...One is of course the rights under Church law for appeal and a process (If one is declared a heretic, the accused does have a right to try and prove themselves not one). The other is the Roman way is sobriety and patience.

If we're fully honest, It could easily be said, the East and West schism could be solved rather easily, through the return of discipline in the Church, and the restoration of her Liturgy. There have always been different schools of Theology in the Church, and one does not need to perscribe to one method to be orthodox....

The ostentatious humility of the current pontiff, if anything is something that makes unity harder.

May there be union between East and West soon.

Gene said...

If I remember correctly, the Patriarch of Constantinople closed all the Latin Churches in the East in 1053 because of doctrinal disputes, taking the first step in the schism. The Papal legate went to Constantinople in order to ask that the Patriarch recognize Rome as primary. When the Patriarch told him to get lost, he excommunicated the Patriarch and the Patriarch excommunicated the Legate in return. The Roman Legate's excommunication of the Patriarch was invalid, but it was allowed to stand.
After this, East and West spent some time slaughtering each other and sacking one another's cities in some events for which I cannot remember the dates. Anyway, it does seem to me that the East made the first definitive step in the schism by closing the Latin Churches. However, Rome was quick to follow with outrages of her own.
It seems unlikely to me that the schism will soon be healed. Rome has enough problems of her own without telling the East to clean up their act.

Pater Ignotus said...

Marc - When the Church teaches, and I believe, that Jesus is really present under the forms of bread and wine, I am not basing this belief on anything subjective.

Were I basing it on some subjective criteria, and regardless of how much prayer, study, or deliberation I had engaged in, I would have to say that it is merely bread and wine since that is all I can determine subjectively.

No, my belief in the Real Presence is not based on anything subjective.

The same is true of infallibility. Were I to base my belief on my own, subjective criteria, I would have to say that no one, pope or patriarch, man or woman, can be free from error. But I don't base my belief on my own criteria.

Infallibility does not belong to the Church, and I did not say it did. I said, "Infallibility (Papal or Magisterial) is a gift given to the Church..." It belongs to God and is shared with the Church for our salvation.

Gene said...

Igniotus,LOL! This from the guy who approvingly quotes Schillebeeckx and Margaret Nutting Ralph. I do not see how any of us can take anything you say seriously, certainly not talk about the Real Presence.

John Nolan said...

Marc, you are exceeding your authority and competence by asserting that the Catholic Church is schismatic and heretical. I would not be competent to make the same claim about another Church or ecclesial community - I am not my own Magisterium. However, I may reasonably infer that an individual who holds to the opinion that the Roman Church is schismatic and heretical is ipso facto a heretic and a schismatic.

Marc said...

Pater, what is your point, exactly?

You have subjectively decided which "church" in which to entrust yourself. This is the consequence of living in a post-modern, pluralistic society wherein one has the freedom of religious choice, the ability to read, and access to massive amounts of information.

You have subjectively decided and continually reaffirm your decision to place your trust in the Roman Catholic Church. And so you defer to the Roman Catholic Church's teachings. In a sense, this is all completely subjective. However, the move to subjectivity occurs first and then all that follows is, as you say, a reliance on something objective to the extent it is an authority exterior to yourself.

In the same way, I am placing my trust in the Orthodox Church. So I can also claim to have removed the subjectivity insofar as I am believing in accordance with what the Orthodox Church teaches, which is objectively true. When the Church teaches it, I believe it.

This is not a recipe for relativism, as some will argue, as there is only one Truth and that Truth is a Person. "This is the Faith of the Apostles. This is the Faith of the Fathers. This is the Faith of the Orthodox. This is the Faith which has established the Universe."

Marc said...

John, I am making no claim aside from those taught by the Church. Are you unable to assert that Arians are heretics? If you did so, is that because of your competence and authority?

George said...

If the Eastern Church regrds with an ontological certitude that the Sacraments and Orders of the Roman Catholic Church are invalid are they not claiming an infallibility? If they are not claiming infallibility in this pronouncement, then why do they make it?

The power vested in the Petrine office by Christ Himself grants authority to whomever occupies the Chair of Peter to make binding declarations regarding faith and morals for all Catholics. Infallibility has its use and purpose. This privilege comes from God Himself.

Anonymous 2 said...

Gene: Just because Schillebeeckz and Ralph may be wrong about some things does not mean they are wrong about everything. To deny this would be like saying that just because Gene is wrong about most things, this means he is wrong about everything. =)

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin\Gene - And a guy who calls the President the "HNIC" and says it's OK because all his smart friends do the same, and who says he would follow the pope "only out of curiosity," and who calls bishops "communists," who refers to gays as "fags" and Blacks as a "feral minority"... who are you to say, well, anything worth hearing at all?

Gene said...

Ignotus, we are talking theological issues here. The HNIC, feral minorities, and Leftist Bishops have nothing to do with this discussion.

Gene said...

Anon 2, True believers and the devout do not knowingly quote from heretical sources again, and again, and again.

Marc said...

George, I'm not sure if your comment is aimed at something I've written. Here is a short, but pertinent statement from the Orthodox Church in America website:

"Orthodoxy does not believe in the infallibility of the Pope of Rome, nor of any other individual.

Orthodoxy upholds the reality that the Church, gathered together in Council under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is guided in making correct decisions and in enunciating truth."

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin\Gene. Showing contempt for those you consider a "feral minority" is a theological issue. It is called sin. Expressing contempt for the Holy Father and the bishops of the Catholic Church is a theological issue. It is called sin. Referring to gays as "fags" is a theological issue. It is called sin. Stating that killing innocents is acceptable is a theological issue. It is called sin.

You style yourself a traditional Catholic, but by your own words you make it obvious that you are anything but.

Unknown said...


Surely, you meant to write 'The St. Peter of the Church here is the Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion.' ;) (Joking, of course).

Actually, Marc, is there some way I could contact you by e-mail? If you'd prefer not to give yours publicly, I'd gladly post mine (well, it's not my 'real' e-mail address, just Flavius's—who is me... I think... lol).

(And, I swear, I'm not going to troll your inbox.)

Gene said...

It is not a sin to show contempt for contemptible people, criticizing the Pope is not a sin, it is not a sin to question the ideology of Bishops, referring to gays as fags is not a sin, and when have I advocated the killing of innocents? It is a sin, however, to deny Christ publicly as you did by refusing to answer the simple, direct question as to whether you believed in the bodily resurrection and the Real Presence. So, Priest, get your issues straight.

Unknown said...

WOW... ANON 2 IS TROLLING?!?!?!?!?!


George said...


"Orthodoxy upholds the reality that the Church, gathered together in Council under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is guided in making correct decisions and in enunciating truth."

That is all well and good. If the decision the Orthodox Church is not made infallibly, what does it mean? I could hold that the Sacraments (Mysteries) of the Orthodox are invalid and say that belief was inspired by the Holy Spirit. It means nothing. Unlike the Holy Father, I do not have infallibility in any pronouncements i make. As I say, it is a privilege and gift given to the Chair of Peter by Christ Himself and by which we can trust his proclamations and dogmas on faith and morals to be true.

Gene said...

Hey, Flavius, email me again so I'll have your address.

Anonymous said...

Marc, to say that all the bishops are descended from Peter is plainly wrong. They are descended from the Apostles and have limited authority, and that only if they exercise it in unity with Peter.

Using your argument, the SSPX and any sedavacantist group, with its own bishop, would be equally right to say that they are the one true Church founded on Christ, which you are implying of the Orthodox. Your argument goes entirely against history and scripture where Christ gave authority and the keys to Peter and Peter alone. The orthodox do not even exercise limited authority while they remain separated from Peter.

I set out Matthew 16:16, which you cannot overcome on behalf of the Orthodox unless you intend to rewrite scripture:

"Simon Peter answered and said: Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God. [17] And Jesus answering, said to him: Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven. [18] And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. [19] And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven. [20]"


Anonymous 2 said...

Trolling, Flavius? I am not sure I understand. Perhaps you meant to say “rolling.” =)

Anonymous said...

Peter was Bishop of Antioch prior to Rome.

Evodius was his successor in Antioch.

Linus succeed him in Rome.

Peter left two direct lines.

Why do we only discuss the Roman line? Why is Antioch not as valid? John X is the current direct line successor of Peter in Antioch.

According to Orthodox sources, ie Church doctrine webpages and books, the Bishop of Rome is primus inter pares. Primary in honor not authority. They use Nicea I canon VI as a source. They also believe Nicea dictates local elections of Bishops, not appointment by Rome. On that part, US secular history as does European, that until the 19th century bishops were elected locally in many cases. The election was sent to Rome for validation, much like Anglican Bishops are locally elected and validate by the Synod of Bishops.

There appears to be some confusion, but yes there are Orthodox Popes. Two current ones are Theodore II Greek Orthodox and Tawadros II Coptic. And the above mentioned John X.

Marc, one point of information. The Archbishop of Canterbury is not the leader of the Anglican Communion. He is primus inter pares, but it appears he has lost that position with the majority of the Communion. If the pastoral letters I am getting from the Gafcon Primates are to be believed. There may not be a Lambeth called as the majority of the Primates will not attend with and have said the Canadian, US and now the CoE are either apostate or approaching being apostate.

Ecumenism is not possible. All sides are too entrenched and unwilling to move, much less discuss anything that divides. We focus too much on what divides, we want to win our points, belittle the other side (your orders are not valid, no yours are not....pick another topic if you like). Each side acts like the borg from Star Trek..resistance is will be absorbed.

We are not broken enough yet. But we may soon be as the new paganism spreads in the west and persecutions start. Then we may be humbled enough to listen, repent, seek forgiveness and come together.

The Anglican Priest

George said...

Conciliar decisions-
Deciding temporal matters by vote is one thing; say, deciding on whether to raise property taxes. But to decide issues having to do with doctrinal matters by vote alone is something else altogether. This is why in the Catholic Church bishops must act in unison with the Holy Father. If he is not in favor of something, it will not happen even if a majority of the episcopate is for it..
One other thing. Vatican City is a political jurisdiction unto itself and not part of any other nation. This serves to keep the Church separate from the Caesaro-Papism problem of the Eastern Orthodox. Where there is a situation in which where a country interferes in the affairs of the Church (China for instance) then there is objection with this which comes from the Holy See.

Gene said...

Mark, Ya' know, I really think you are right. It is sad, but I think the Church is going to have to hit bottom before she realizes what as sorry pass she is coming to. I believe it is the same with the country…we are going to have to become a third world nation, with gangs and feral groups freely roaming the streets and enclaves of citizens armed to the teeth before somebody rises up to lead us out of this mess. We are so in denial on every level that I see no hope other than that.

Marc said...

Flavius, wmermine (at) If you troll me, I'll send Gene to hunt you down. ;-)

George, the history of the ecumenical councils disproves your argument.

Anglican Priest Mark, thank you for the correction.

Jan, move beyond the Roman anachronisms regarding that scripture verse and read what the Church fathers say about it for yourself (not just proof-texted segments from Roman Catholic apologetics businesses). I think you'll be surprised to learn how the Church interpreted it prior to the rise of the papal claims beginning around the 9th century.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Marc, as a Catholic you tended to latch onto extreme positions that not even the Catholic Church would push to its logical solution.

One is "Outside the Church there is no salvation." The Magisterium has always taught that if through no fault of one's own, one could be saved (albeit through the graces that flow from Christ through the Church).

The Magisterium also, prior to Vatican II, would have been reluctant to say that the Eastern Orthodox were not a part of the Church but something completely bogus. The Church, meaning her Magisterium in this regard, would say the Orthodox are schismatic, but I'm not sure that we would attribute heresy to them except when some of their bishops, like you as a lay person, state that Catholics aren't Christian and that Catholic sacraments are invalid. This is the Orthodox version of Protestant Fundamentalism and disdain for the true Church, Catholicism.

As a Catholic you tended toward Catholic fundamentalism which can spin out of control and become schismatic and now as an Orthodox you are embracing the same pitfalls there.

Time to move out of extremism and back to the center and back to the fullness of the true Church, Roman Catholicism.

Marc said...

Fr. McDonald, I never said that the Orthodox Church doesn't consider Roman Catholics to be Christians. I merely articulated the Orthodox teaching that sacraments outside the Church are not "valid."

Try as you might to paint this as a "fundamentalist" and "extreme" position, it is the Orthodox teaching.

If you want to prove that it is not the teaching of the Orthodox Church, then offer some source to support your idea. Until then, I am confident that my Orthodox priest knows more about Orthodox teaching than you do.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Marc, I suspect then, that both you and he are polemical, but you point out a truth about Orthodoxy which remains stuck in 1054 not accepting of any organic development since that time and with subsequent ecumenical councils. It is like the Catholic Church stuck in the 1500's and continually reacting to the Reformation long after the Reformation posed the original threats to the Church of the 1950's. Vatican II moved the Church forward on a number of fronts, yet your version and evidently your priest's version of the Great Schism remains the starting point for outdated ideologies that you now profess with him.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Marc, if the Orthodox Church says our sacraments are invalid, that means our Baptism too and if we are considered not baptized, we are not Christians.

Marc said...

Fr. McDonald, I take it, then, you are still unable to support your claim that what I'm articulating is an extreme position. And so you resort to base accusations of polemics against both me and my priest.

The rest of your rant exemplifies why I left Rome.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

No, the polemical "I left Rome" isn't what occurred, you left the fullness of the true Church for a schismatic version of it. Better if you simply joined the FSSPX. You are now not in full communion with the Church, but at least you have the ecumenical councils (led by the Pope and approved by his presence) prior to 1054 and you have valid sacraments.

Marc said...

I think you are incorrect about the history of the ecumenical councils.

I can't "join the FSSPX" because I'm not a priest. Anyway, they are in communion with the pope.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Marc, true, you are not a priest but according to your new extreme ideology, neither are the FSSPX priests!

Marc said...

And neither are you.

I'm still waiting for your evidence about my "extreme position."

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Marc, you prove my point beyond a shadow of a doubt with every post you rite, the last few being primary examples.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Freudian slip: write not rite

Marc said...

Are Episcopalian "priests" priests according to your church?

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin/Gene - Yes, it is a sin to show contempt for the pope. "It is sinful to treat any fellow human person with contempt, derision, and calumny. To do so toward the Pope is more gravely immoral, since it implies contempt for the authority of the Church and for the Vicar of Christ. And to do so publicly adds the grave sin of scandal: other Catholics might be drawn into committing the same sin."

You did not "question the ideology of Bishops." You called them, with no evidence whatsoever, communists. It is the sin of calumny - making of false and defamatory statements in order to damage someone's reputation.

Yes, calling gay people "fags" is a sin. Matthew 5:22 "But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire."

It is anger and fear that leads you to use language that you intend to be offensive and hurtful. This is sinful.

Regarding the killing of innocents, your memory is conveniently short. On August 30th of this year you said, "Anon 2, First of all, I never thought Bush dealt properly with Iraq and the post-911 debacle. The day after Bush found out that the terrorists were Islamic, he should have carpet bombed Mecca and Medina, Baghdad, and every major Islamic city in the Middle East, began a wholesale deportation of Muslims in the US, forbade them from immigrating, and declared them undesirables. That would have been for starters. Going after Hussein meant absolutely nothing."

When asked if you were really serious in this, you answered, "I am serious, Anon 2. Oh, Ignotus, it is not immoral to kill enemies in a war and, like it or not, we are in a war with Islam. They do not give a damn about our innocents, and I do not give a damn about their's, if there are any."

Killing innocents by carpet bombing cities is immoral. It is, like abortion, a direct assault on innocent life which no rationale can justify.

Like Herod's slaughter of the Innocents (Matthew 2:16-18) and the current terrorist tactics used by ISIS and Boko Haram, you assert that killing innocents is not only acceptable, but necessary.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

The fullness of the Church which has the authority of Saint Peter declared Anglican Orders null and void. You say your schismatic Church teaches that All Catholic sacraments are void but you do not say who in your schismatic Church has definitively declared this or which ecumenical council the schismatic held after leaving the full communion of the Church declared this.

Marc said...

So I hope through considering the example of the Roman Catholic determination that Anglican orders aren't "valid," you can see that such a determination isn't necessarily an extreme position, especially when it is based on an understanding of ecclesiology. Since the ecclesiology of the Orthodox Church is as it is, the understanding of Catholic orders follows.

If you care to understand this better than I can explain it, read this:

I'm not trying to get you to agree with me. You are claiming this is an extreme view within Orthodoxy. My only point is that this is the Orthodox teaching.

John Nolan said...

Marc, on your own admission you 'left Rome'. That makes you a schismatic at least and incurs excommunication latae sententiae. You go further in believing that the Church of Rome is heretical. This makes you a heretic. Your discernment, however it be arrived at, is therefore flawed.

'For your God or dream or devil
You must answer - not to me.'

In fact, your embracing of Orthodoxy was for the wrong reasons, namely hostility to Rome; this also explains the intractability of certain Eastern Churches.

Bishop Athanasius Schneider remarked on his experience in Kazakhstan that the Moslems were easier to get on with than were the Orthodox; but being a patient and holy man he eventually won his Orthodox counterpart over.

There are Eastern Rite Churches in communion with Rome. Those that cling to the schism show a rigidity and lack of charity which is not edifying and reflects more badly on them than it does on Rome, although Rome is not entirely blameless. The liturgical and theological anarchy which followed V2 certainly didn't help.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Marc, my point is that the orthodox are independent national churches, are the ones in schism and do not have an authoritative unified voice to make such a claim. They have broken communion with Rome and if what you say about Orthodox theology existed prior to their schism, then the pope, who has the authority to do so and to speak for both lungs of the Church, would have declared it so, that the Orthodox sacraments are all invalid, but he did not.

Marc said...

John, I appreciate your recent post (sincerely). I have not left Rome out a sense of hostility, although I admit I am being intentionally polemical in this discussion given the turn it has taken.

Fr. McDonald, the Orthodox Church is completely unified in doctrine. Your understanding of the first millennium Church is drastically distorted.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

No Marc, the distortion which you experience, not me is being stuck in time and the period up to 1054. The true Church continued to organically develop as did the role of the papacy, its apex during the First Vatican Council and now with the Second Vatican Council, which the true Church continues to strive to implement in the proper spirit and hermeneutic of continuity.

Jdj said...

Yesterday at 5:06 pm Gene gave a good nutshell history of the1054 schism that is accurate as far as I can tell (of course now he has been sidetracked by PI's bifurcation onto an entirely different rabbit-trail topic!).
It seems to me that y'all are in a standoff that has been going on for nearly 1000 years. All due respect, it probably won't be solved here no matter who argues what. Nor, for that matter, will the PI bifurcation... (-:

Marc said...

Fr. McDonald, stuck in 1054? What are talking about?

JDJ, I actually don't think Gene's history is very accurate, but I'm not going to dissect it here.

Gene said...

Why did you not post my reply to Ignotus? You are getting a little censorship crazy here.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Gene comments concerning the president, is race and anything that could be perceived as racist or against the Church's pro-life teachings a PI enunciated in an authoritative way is not what the purpose of this blog is and gets us off track. Your comments are incendiary at times and extreme.

Gene said...

Nothing I said was against pro-life or racist. Anyway, Ignotus is full of it and my comments regarding Muslims and criticisms of the Pope and Bishops were not sinful. PI has a rather large beam in his eye.

Marc said...

By the way, here's an example of that unified doctrine that I was talking about above. This encyclical from all the patriarchs deals with the papacy.

Anthony said...

JOHN NOLAN I am a non SSPX traditional catholic.No we are not a product of someone's imagination.Out of respect for this priest's blog,I will simply say we are further to TRADITIONAL aspect than SSPX.I still read and talk to Vatican II parishioners as I do not harbor resentment or ill will towards anyone.

Pater Ignotus said...

Here's a decent description of the Catholic-Orthodox split.

Pater Ignotus said...

This one is good, too, if brief.

Gene said...

Marc, my history was quite cursory and not well-remembered. I do believe the closing of the Latin Churches in 1053 got the ball rolling, however, and the Pope allowing the excommunication of the Patriarch to stand was more gas on the fire.

George said...

The link you provided goes into a long discourse on the Filioque which is no surprise since it is an Orthodox site. That it was acknowledged prior to the Filioque that the Holy Spirit proceeded from the Father was true enough. It was just not complete as it was. One can to look to science as an example. Two hundred years ago we knew things about electricity that were true. We know a lot more today of course. What we know to be true today was true two hundred years prior. Our knowldge back then, the "truth we knew at the time" was just incomplete.This is true when it comes to doctrine. It was not until the Council of Constantinople (381) that the doctrine of the Trinity was formally proclaimed and became the official teaching of the Church. This did not come about on the spot as some kind of epiphany.
I hope you came to your belief in Orthodoxy with any animosity toward the Catholic Church.

Gene said...

It has always seemed to me that to deny that the Spirit proceeds from the Father AND the Son was, ultimately, non-Trinitarian. The Trinitarian logic seems to demand complete equality in all movements, processions, and emanations. I know this logic has been chopped every conceivable way, but it still seems theologically obvious to me.
On the face of it, it does not seem that it should be an insurmountable theological problem…but, often, what began a schism is not always what maintains it.
Oh, well, there is still plenty for East and West to fuss about…Papal authority, Mary issues, ecclesiology, Nestorianism, Pelagianism…nice long list…should keep it going for at least another thousand years.
My good friend, Marc, has studied this and struggled with it personally as I have not. I trust his sincerity and devotion, not to mention his diligence in study. Besides, if things get much worse in Rome, many may be joining him.

Gene said...

I must say that this has been one of the best discussions on the blog to date. I have learned a lot and appreciate everyone's contributions. I hope it can continue.

Marc said...

Gene, I agree with you that this discussion has been a very interesting one!

I disagree with your assessment of the filioque, however. The filioque addition results in a non-Trinitarian understanding because it disrupts the equality of the Persons of the Holy Trinity. Something must be either common to all the Persons or individual to one Person, as explained below.

Each of the Persons is God--that is the common nature. The Father, individually, is unbegotten. He is the source of unity of the Trinity: it is from Him that the Son is begotten and the Holy Spirit proceeds. The Son, individually, is begotten of the Father. The Holy Spirit, individually, proceeds from the Father.

If the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, as from one principle, this elevates the Father and the Son to a status above that of the Holy Spirit because those two Persons share a characteristic not shared by all Persons. Therefore, the filioque creates a duality instead of a trinity with a subservient third Person in the Holy Spirit.

George said...

Marc: If you want to look at it from that perspective, the Orthodox formulation results in a similar though different problem.

My understanding of the Filioque:

Two aspects of the Divine Trinity are(1) Each Person is equally and fully God yet (2) Each member is also a unique different person. The Divine conversation and communication between the Father and Son is of such a high order that from out of it is manifested a whole other Divine Person who is likewise equally God since He proceeds both equally and uncreated from both the Father and Son. God is Love itself and He is equally that in both the Father and the Son and so this Divine conversation is a manifestation of that Love, and from the Father and the Son it proceeds and from that is manifested another Divine person, the Holy Spirit.. Both the Father and the Son being equal in Divine nature respond and initiate this conversation proceeding from the Divine Love.
Consider an earthly father and son. The father begot the son. Both are of the same human nature. Both the father and son were created in the image and likeness of God. Both have intellect and will and soul which are necessary for authentic love. One contemplates another human being, finds the person pleasing and initiates a conversation so to speak. The other person can equally initiate a conversation. Each one of them can initiate and respond to love can they not? Is this not what authentic love is about?
Would we deny this same capability and capacity to the Father and the Son?

Marc said...

"If you want to look at it from that perspective, the Orthodox formulation results in a similar though different problem."

Please explain what you mean so we can discuss it.

George said...

I concur with Gene as far as your sincerity and devotion. It would be nice if we could come to terms on the Filioque controversy (and a few other theological problems)and have unity between the East and West. I just accept by Faith the inclusion of that phrase in the Creed.

In Scripture,Jesus proclaimed Himself as equal to the Father:
"Whoever has seen me has seen the Father."
"I and the Father are one."
So I believe that the Father and the Son are One in Equality, Majesty, Power and Glory

From the Catechism:
"Jesus has everything that belongs to the Father, except being Father, the Son has also eternally from the Father, from whom he is eternally born "

George said...

One could make the argument that because the Son is begotten, this makes Him subordinate to or somehow less than the Father (if one wants to look at it from that perspective which I don't). Fatherhood and begotteness and procession are not equivalent as terms of comparison anyway. The first two are of a quality, a characteristic, or state of being. One IS a father, one IS begotten. Procession refers to an action, an emanation, the Divine conversation, if you will. Person would be an equivalent term of comparison as would be Divine attributes. The Incarnation is also unique to the Son. However, each Person of the Trinity co-operates in some way in whatever each the other Persons do.

Marc said...

George, you're right that one could argue that the Son is inferior to the Father due to His having been begotten. Such a one would be a heretic, though!

Seriously, though, I think you're mixing up a couple different ideas. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit have the individual characteristics of being unbegotten, begotten, and spirated, respectively. Contrary to what you're saying, these are all states of being for the Divine Persons. Eternal procession doesn't really refer to an action, just as the Son's being begotten isn't really an action. Actions take place in time; whereas, neither the begetting of the Son nor the spirating of the Holy Spirit takes place in time. These, then, are essential qualities of the Divine Persons.

So, you can see that no two Divine Persons share some quality not shared by all the Divine Persons.

The Divine Conversation that you're talking about is the essence of the Holy Trinity in that He is relational. The Son and the Father are One; the Son and the Spirit are One; the Father and the Spirit are One. This is getting at a different question than that having to do with the filioque, though. For, surely you are not arguing that the Son is begotten of the Father and the Holy Spirit, right?

George said...

It's been along time since I've commented about this. If you say actions only take place in time then I guess one can look forward to being "frozen" in the Eternal timelessness of heaven. In my example of the father and the son I did not intend a one-to-one correspondence to the Trinity. Marriage itself can be seen as somewhat analogous to the Trinity.Christ is eternally begotten of the Father. He also eternally co-exists with the Father. This tells us that the Triune God is Three distinct Persons, not three gods as is the Hindu trinity. The Triune God created Temporal existence. That was an action that occurred outside of Time. There is an Eternal dynamic within the Trinity. The Persons are not frozen in a State of Being. "Action" does not fully convey the dynamic within the Trinity but we are dealing with something that can't be fully conveyed in human terms.
No, I am not arguing that the Son is begotten of the Father and the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son as the Church teaches.
The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are three distinct Persons but One God.