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Francis Clears the Decks

Here’s America magazine’s rush translation of Pope Francis’s speech to the Synod today. [1]Shorter Pope Francis: “Remember, I’m the Pope, and I make the decisions around here.”

The Jesuit Father Jim Martin knows that something is up:

Meaning, as you continue to read Fr. Jim’s thread, that the Pope is going to change the doctrine himself, call it pastoral practice, and expect them all to get in line, because he’s the Pope and they are Catholics. If this happens, then the Trads will have been proven right, and the fix really was in from the beginning. More:

 

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75 Comments To "Francis Clears the Decks"

#1 Comment By Anne On October 19, 2015 @ 12:47 am

“I really regret that they did not have the internet during Vatican II. That would have been fun reading.”

They didn’t have the internet, but there was still some fun reading. Look up the name Xavier Rynne.

#2 Comment By CatherineNY On October 19, 2015 @ 6:35 am

@Anne, thank you for the kind words. @Erin Manning, I strongly endorse what you say in your 9:26 pm post on October 18.

#3 Comment By Anne On October 19, 2015 @ 8:12 am

@James Kabala,

Regarding your question about second marriages in the Church of divorced Catholics whose first marriages are valid, the short answer is no, the Kasper proposal would not allow for second marriages in the Church.

The Kasper proposal is aimed at the Church’s understanding of who can and cannot take Communion, not at current doctrine on marriage/divorce/remarriage, etc., which is accepted as unchanging.

There’s no really brief way to explain the proposal, which is patterned on the practice of certain local communities of the early Church reflected in current Eastern Orthodox practice, and yet it doesn’t go as far as the Orthodox model, which does sanction 2nd and even 3rd “non-sacramental” marriages.

The proposal covers only people in specific situations involving divorced and civilly remarried Catholics, not everyone divorced and remarried, and would not change their marital status. Those covered would be sincere Catholics who truly want to be reconciled to the Church but find themselves at the horns of an “impossible dilemma — unable to return to their first marriages which are legally and irrevocably broken and morally bound to remain with their second families for a variety of reasons (children, dependent spouse, illness in the family, what-have-you).

They would then be required to confess regularly to a pastor/confessor and complete a period of penance watched over by same. Only after that would they be readmitted to sacramental communion on the grounds of “mercy.”

As precedent, Kasper points to the example of various local churches during the early centuries that followed this policy, as well as early fathers of the church who approved, such as Origin, Basil the Great and Gregory of Nazianuz. He also cites Benedict XVI’s contention that remarried Catholics who show this level of devotion can partake of “spiritual communion.” Since as he points out, “spiritual communion” is no less than full union with Christ himself, there seems little rationale for withholding sacramental communion from a person already in Christ’s embrace.

In short, Kasper’s proposal is not offered as some general panacea, but as “a special mercy” for a singular kind of penitent Catholic caught in an especially “tight spot.” Such “special cases” are, in fact, a type some have suggested should be referred in secret to the “internal forum” solution. Kasper’s model would, by contrast, would be public.

#4 Comment By Sam M On October 19, 2015 @ 8:41 am

Erin,

“the whole point of both the Benedict *and* the Francis papacy is this: end the Great Schism.”

That’s an interesting thought. I am curious as to how you think the end of this Schism would shake out in terms of the issues that stand of the forefront of the modern mind. Namely, contraception and divorce.

The Orthodox Church tends to be far more permissive. You contend that contraception is a grave moral sin.

So… if the church mends the schism and says, well, I guess rubbers are OK some of the time… are you going to agree with church teaching on that? If they split the difference by making such things a matter of pastoral practice and local control, isn’t that kind of a raw deal for the souls who are currently burning in hell for transgressing in this regard? If you think the schism ends and the traditional Catholic teaching stands, what leads you to believe that Orthodox folks (in the pews or in leadership) will agree to the stricter interpretation?

I know there are issues other than the sex issues. But that makes a mend less likely rather than more likely, no?

#5 Comment By Anne On October 19, 2015 @ 10:08 am

One matter to clarify:

This will apparently be called the 2014-15 synod of bishops, because it was originally called specially to look into the issues we’ve been talking about back in 2014, which means the first session was technically an “extraordinary” synod, but since a regular session would have taken place this year anyway, this year’s meeting may be referred to as an “ordinary” synod, even though it’s really a continuation of last year’s business.

#6 Comment By New Dad On October 19, 2015 @ 10:14 am

The fix may be in. As others have pointed out, he’s the pope and can do what he wants after the synod.

But I don’t see how the Pope’s homily on Saturday furthers the “fix is in” narrative. He seemed to be suggesting that these decisions be delegated to local groups of bishops. That’s not the “fix” that everyone is screaming about. If anything, it could mean that the pope realizes he’s not going to get want he wants from this synod, so as a compromise he’s proposing to delegate to local bishops. And, many conservative bishops are speaking out against that proposal too.

So instead of “the fix is in”, perhaps a better headline would be “the pope is scrambling.”

That’s if you buy into this whole conspiracy idea in the first place. I personally think that the pope is trying to gradually prepare for a reunion with the Orthodox (which could take 50 years or more – as Rod said the differences go way back). Of course it could also be both – the pope is scrambling, and devolving authority to the bishops because it helps with his reunification goal.

[NFR: If this is true — that the Pope is preparing for reunion with the Orthodox — then this is going to be a disaster for that end. Why? Because of orthodoxy — right belief. What the German bishops believe is true and what (say) the African bishops believe is true do not coincide on some basic things. A devolution to local bishops conferences will bring that out, and reveal that there is a de facto schism within the Roman Catholic church. — RD]

#7 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On October 19, 2015 @ 10:47 am

David J White’s observations about Church preceding Scripture certainly are in accord with similar observations by C.S. Lewis, from which Lewis notes that the Bible was not written to bring people to Christianity, but to edify people who had accepted the truth of the Christ as son of God and savior of the world.

In theory, fathers of the church guided by the Holy Spirit were moved to select as authoritative those scriptures that truly were the Word of God. On the other hand, if they somehow erred, then Christianity may have its own “satanic verses” slipped into Scripture.

If the Pope says, “Well, we’re just going to allow this because life is hard and we want to be nice to people, but the doctrine is not changing,” then, by definition, the doctrine is not changing.

That seems like the best outcome and the most charitable description. Yes, marriage is for life, but humans fall short, and sometimes when someone has divorced (outside the church) and remarried (outside the church), then had children by the second marriage, as an enduring, devoted, self-sacrificing love flourished between the two spouses of the second marriage… at SOME point the church might recognize that the outcome closest to the teaching of Jesus is to acknowlege the second marriage, reconcile with one or both spouses (they may not both by Roman Catholic) and admit either spouse who is Roman Catholic to communion. Why? Because the alternatives would be even more distasteful to the commandments God has set forth than the reconciliation that acknowledges the second marriage.

dominic… as I said of someone else on another thread, one word and one-line repartees often betray an insufferable intellectual pretension that does no credit to the sentiment expressed.

#8 Comment By New Dad On October 19, 2015 @ 11:03 am

: If this is true — that the Pope is preparing for reunion with the Orthodox — then this is going to be a disaster for that end. Why? Because of orthodoxy — right belief. What the German bishops believe is true and what (say) the African bishops believe is true do not coincide on some basic things. A devolution to local bishops conferences will bring that out, and reveal that there is a de facto schism within the Roman Catholic church.

Yes exactly – the Orthodox would have less difficultly entering into communion with say the German synod, because Kasper and the other Germans are looking to the Orthodox inspiration on the marriage issue, and would have no problem admitting divorced and re-married Orthodox to communion. The Africans on the other hand would bar them from communion, calling an accepted Orthodox practice immoral and adulterous. 😉

Oh wait that’s not the issue you’re talking about. You’re talking about homosexuality. 😉 That’s the shibboleth issue. Africans good; Germans bad.

But seriously, if this actually plays out, the church could in theory devolve into semi-autonomous groups, similar to patriarchies, and the Orthodox could be in communion with some not others. I don’t actually see that happening however.

I think the pope does favor decentralization, but not just as a strategy for re-uniting with the Orthodox. As John Allen pointed out in a piece on Crux today, devolving authority to local bishop groups is something Vatican II talked about, that hasn’t really happened yet. Progressives in the church tend to favor it, and the pope is progressive on many issues (not so much on homosexuality though).

[NFR: No, I’m not talking only about homosexuality. I’m talking about all kinds of things. The Orthodox won’t be in communion with churches that don’t share the same belief. If the Pope does devolve things, he’s going to end up with the same problem the Archbishop of Canterbury has. — RD]

#9 Comment By CatherineNY On October 19, 2015 @ 11:13 am

[NFR: If this is true — that the Pope is preparing for reunion with the Orthodox — then this is going to be a disaster for that end. Why? Because of orthodoxy — right belief. What the German bishops believe is true and what (say) the African bishops believe is true do not coincide on some basic things. A devolution to local bishops conferences will bring that out, and reveal that there is a de facto schism within the Roman Catholic church. — RD]

Rod, the Orthodox Church is certainly not run by a central authority akin to the Pope. If the Pope devolves authority in some matters to national churches, how is that different than the way the Orthodox Church is managed? That might well make unification more appealing to many Orthodox.

[NFR: My point is that for the Orthodox, unity is not simply a matter of ecclesial form. It is also unity of belief. Orthodoxy is far more conservative in this way than the West knows. You can’t look at Orthodoxy and say, “Ah, they approve divorce and remarriage under certain circumstances, and many of them accept contraception, so they must be at least somewhat liberal.” It’s tempting to do that, but it’s a mistake to judge Orthodoxy by Western standards. These views are organic to the Orthodox tradition. The differences between East and West are more profound than many in the West realize. They are more profound than I realized when I became Orthodox. I hope and pray for reunion one day, but I don’t think it will happen. — RD]

#10 Comment By Bernie On October 19, 2015 @ 11:56 am

This is in response to some comments suggesting the Kasper proposal has roots in the practice and/or teaching of the early Church.

In the most outstanding synod-related article I’ve read, Ross Douthat in his Oct. 17 article “The Plot to Change Catholicism” refers to a study done by American Dominicans. I hope this will add deeper perspective to previous comments. It’s entitled “Recent Proposals for the Pastoral Care of the Divorced and Remarried: A Theological Assessment” and is found at:
[7]

Section C-2, (which is quoted here in its entirety), is followed by C-3 which is titled “The Eastern Orthodox Practice”. Section C-2 ends with his sentence: “In sum, the Church Fathers and the early Councils bear a very strong witness against admitting the divorced and remarried to Holy Communion.”

“C-2. The Precedents from Early Councils and the Church Fathers

The nearly universal witness in the early Church affirms the unicity and indissolubility of marriage as the teaching of Christ himself, and is what distinguishes Christian from Jewish and pagan practices. Divorce and remarriage was out of the question; indeed, even whether one could marry after a spouse’s death raised serious concern. St. Paul allows this second marriage “only in the Lord,” but encourages the widow to “remain as she is” (1 Cor 7:39-40).

“The great patristic writers, following Matthew 19:11- 12 and St. Paul’s exhortations, generally emphasize the good of virginity and chaste widowhood as preferable to the good of marriage. Recently, it has been claimed that the First Council of Nicaea (325) addressed the admission of the divorced and remarried to Communion. This is a serious misreading of that Council and misunderstands the second and third century controversies over marriage.”

“Various rigorous and heretical sects in the second century forbade marriage in general, in contradiction to Christ’s teaching (and to St. Paul’s). Others in the second and third centuries, especially the Novatianists, forbade a “second marriage” after a spouse’s death. Canon 8 of Nicaea I aims precisely at the error of the Novatianists about a “second marriage,” commonly understood to be after a spouse’s death.15 This is confirmed in the Byzantine interpretation of a fourth-century canon on “second marriage” and the reception of Communion. The canon was applied specifically to young widows and widowers who, induced by “the arising of the fleshly spirit,” remarried after a spouse’s death. They were criticized for this “second marriage,” but were none- 15 Council of Nicaea (325), Canon 8, DH 127: “It is fitting that they [the Novatianists] profess in writing . . . to remain in communion with those who have been married twice and with those who have lapsed during persecution.” Cf. Henri Crouzel, L’Église primitive face au divorce: du premier au cinquième siécle (Paris: Beauchesne, 1971), 124. Thus, St. Epiphanius of Salamis (d. 403), writing against the Novatianists, explains that the clergy may not remarry after a spouse’s death, while the laity may. The Panarion of St. Epiphanius, Bishop of Salamis: Selected Passages, trans. and ed. Philip R. Amidon (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990), 205.

“Assessment of Proposals for Divorced and Remarried 611 theless permitted to receive Communion if they completed a period of prayer and penance.16 There are some ambiguous fourth-century texts dealing with divorce and an adulterous second relationship. They speak of admitting one who has entered such an adulterous relationship to Communion only after a lengthy period of penance (e.g., seven years). It is implausible, however, that they permitted that second relationship—which they expressly condemn as adulterous—to continue. The more natural reading is that repenting of adultery formed a part of the penance necessary for Communion.17

“In sum, the Church Fathers and the early Councils bear a very strong witness against admitting the divorced and remarried to Holy Communion.”

#11 Comment By New Dad On October 19, 2015 @ 12:29 pm

You can’t look at Orthodoxy and say, “Ah, they approve divorce and remarriage under certain circumstances, and many of them accept contraception, so they must be at least somewhat liberal.”

That’s not what I’m saying. I don’t think the Orthodox are liberal. I am saying that, as in US politics, things don’t always break down cleanly between liberal and conservative, or orthodox and heterodox. A consistent position for an Orthodox would be either to mind his own business and leave catholic debates to the catholics, or to favor proposals that would move Catholic positions closer to Orthodox position, and oppose those that would do the opposite. Ie, favor something like the Kasper proposal, and oppose softening on homosexuality, and many other issues. But then things wouldn’t break down so cleanly between the different sides – you’d agree with the Catholic liberals on at least one issue, and oppose them on many others.

You’ve stated elsewhere that you don’t think the Catholics are ascetic enough to move to the Orthodox position on the divorce issue, that Catholic theology would collapse if they did do that, and the fate of Western civ depends on that not happening. In other words they should do the wrong thing because civilization depends on it. That logic sounds both torturous and, as a non-catholic, very busy-bodyish.

#12 Comment By JonF On October 19, 2015 @ 1:16 pm

Bernie,

You can find Eastern Christian polemicists on the topic who will argue from the opposite site, vis-a-vis early Christian practice, and also have the quotes to bolster their case.
We also need to remember here that divorce was licit and common in Greco-Roman society. Unlike, say, pederasty, there was no disapproval of it at all in the larger culture. Christianity could not have spread as easily as it did if had rejected converts who had been married, divorced, and remarried. It would have kept a large fraction of the middle and upper classes from joining the Church. In fact, the early Church concerned itself rather little with marriage– marriage did not become a sacrament until at least the ninth century.

#13 Comment By JonF On October 19, 2015 @ 1:20 pm

Re: The Orthodox won’t be in communion with churches that don’t share the same belief.

Yes, but… Orthodoxy tends to slot moral issues into the Pastoral Care category, not the Doctrine and Theology category. As such a fair amount of localism and agreeing-to-disagree is allowed. It’s individual bishops after all who must determine whether a remarriage can occur. And there is difference of opinion over contraception, with a minority arguing for the Roman position.

#14 Comment By James C. On October 19, 2015 @ 1:40 pm

Orthodoxy is far more conservative in this way than the West knows. You can’t look at Orthodoxy and say, “Ah, they approve divorce and remarriage under certain circumstances, and many of them accept contraception, so they must be at least somewhat liberal.” It’s tempting to do that, but it’s a mistake to judge Orthodoxy by Western standards. These views are organic to the Orthodox tradition.

That’s your opinion. There are other Eastern Orthodox theologians who have a quite different opinion.

#15 Comment By Patrick On October 19, 2015 @ 2:02 pm

“It’s tempting to do that, but it’s a mistake to judge Orthodoxy by Western standards. These views are organic to the Orthodox tradition. The differences between East and West are more profound than many in the West realize.”

This is right, and all of my interactions with the Orthodox point to this. Nevertheless, don’t you think it’s a little odd, given Orthodoxy claims to be the Real Church of Christ, that it can’t be understood by, like, entire continents of people, including the large industrial countries? I mean, why would Christ establish a Church whereby Greeks and Russians are the only saved people, and even the most pious, Christ-like dude here in the West “doesn’t get” the Church founded by Jesus Christ?

I just find that odd. I’m reminded of Solzenhitysn saying that Russians were way more spiritual than Westerners, and once communism fell, they would return to Orthodoxy. Well, once communism fell the Russians became the most obnoxious materialists ever seen on earth. Gordon Gekko might blush and mutter something about “life being more than buying big yachts” at some of the consumerism going on in Russia after communism.

The Chinese – same thing. “We’re so profound and Confuscian and value deep thought”: and the second they get a few $, they go to capitalist excess in seconds: casinos, cars, shoes…conspicuous consumption that is somewhat frowned upon even in the capitalist West.

My experience in eastern Europe bears this out as well: the people want designer clothes, designer shoes, handbags, etc. Hey: those things are great, but spare me the lecture of how less materialistic and “thoughtful” y’all are compared to us barbarian Westerners…You’re just not as good at money-making as the West (until now).

Anyway: you could easily wave all of this away by saying, “you just don’t understand eastern stuff” – well, it kind of sounds like the stereotypically eastern relationship to speaking the truth (much less “rigid”, unsurprisingly, than our Western ideas.)

If Benedict XVI and Francis really think they have a chance to work with these people, they are mad.

Harumph!

[NFR: Well, harumph back atcha. I suppose the Orthodox answer would be that we all could understand each other, until the Great Schism; the subsequent developments, theologically and liturgically, in the West make us more opaque to each other. I sometimes run into Orthodox Christians who have really messed-up views of what Catholicism is, and teaches, and I’m pleased to correct them. Orthodoxy can certainly be “understood” by the rest of the world, and I believe a pre-modern Roman Catholic would have understood nearly everything about it. The gulf, it seems to me, is not between the culture of the West and the culture of Russia, or Greece, but between a pre-modern form of Christianity, and the forms it has taken in the West, in modernity. I had a similar experience trying to explain Catholicism to Evangelicals when I was a Catholic. It is such a complex, organic thing that you can’t lay it out in Four Spiritual Laws, or something like that. This is a disadvantage in the modern world, but the advantage is that if you do “get” it, and you practice it faithfully, and — this is important — you don’t simply let your faith be an abstraction you keep in your head, but also live it out in your body, you will find it goes very deep. — RD]

#16 Comment By Bernie On October 19, 2015 @ 4:30 pm

“You can find Eastern Christian polemicists on the topic who will argue from the opposite site, vis-a-vis early Christian practice, and also have the quotes to bolster their case.”

JonF,

I’m sure. But I’ll reference just several things:

This is from the “Catholic Encyclopedia” on the Sacrament of Marriage:
[8]

“The Catholic Catechism”, #1114: “Adhering to the teaching of the Holy Scriptures, to the apostolic traditions, and to the consensus…of the Fathers, we profess that the sacraments of the new law were…all instituted by Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Here is the section by the American Dominicans referenced in my earlier comment concerning Eastern Orthodox practice in light of the current Synod. (The footnotes can be seen by going to Section C-3 at this site:)
[7]

“C-3. The Eastern Orthodox Practice
In the early Church, it was disputed whether one could remarry after a spouse’s death, but divorce and remarriage was forbidden (see section
C-2, above). Some Eastern Fathers (e.g., St. Gregory of Nazianzus) preached against lax imperial laws permitting remarriage. Gregory called subsequent unions “indulgence,” then “transgression,” and finally “swinish.” 18 These were not permissions for divorce and remarriage, but attempts to curtail subsequent unions, even after a spouse’s death.

“Over time, and under pressure from the Byzantine emperors who asserted an aggressive authority over the Eastern Church, Eastern Christians came to conflate “second marriages” after a spouse’s death with divorce and remarriage, and to re-read patristic texts in this light.

“In the tenth century, Byzantine Emperor Leo VI effectively forced the Eastern Orthodox to accept divorce and remarriage.19 Their present approach
permits, by the practice of “economy,” second and third marriages after divorce, although with wedding rites outside the Eucharist. Since these
unions are not considered adulterous, the divorced and remarried are admitted to Communion.

“This practice diverges from the clearest tradition of the early Church common to both East and West. As the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith declared in 1994: “Even if analogous pastoral solutions have been proposed by a few Fathers of the Church and in some measure were practiced, nevertheless these never attained the consensus of the Fathers and in no way came to constitute the common doctrine of the Church nor to determine her discipline.”20 Such a determination accurately
reflects the historical record.

“Further, the Catholic Church has repeatedly determined that it cannot admit the Eastern Orthodox practice. The Second Council of Lyon
(1274), specifically addressing the Eastern Orthodox practice, declared that “neither is a man allowed to have several wives at the same time nor
a woman several husbands. But, when a legitimate marriage is dissolved by the death of one of the spouses, [the Roman Church] declares that a
second and afterward a third marriage are successively licit.”21

“What is more, present proposals advocate what even the Eastern Orthodox would not accept: Communion for those in unblessed civil (adulterous) unions. The Eastern Orthodox admit the divorced and remarried to Communion only if their subsequent union has been blessed in an Eastern Orthodox rite. In other words, admitting the divorced and remarried to Communion would inevitably require the Catholic Church to recognize and bless second marriages after divorce, which is clearly contrary to settled Catholic dogma and Christ’s express teaching.”

#17 Comment By Fr. Frank On October 19, 2015 @ 4:57 pm

God bless you, Patrick.

#18 Comment By Erin Manning On October 19, 2015 @ 5:37 pm

Sam M., you are right that Orthodox approval of and/or permissiveness on both contraception and remarriage after divorce are big issues. I don’t know any scholar on either side of this divide who doesn’t think they need to be addressed before any progress can be made.

Of course, when the Synod is preceded by Pope Francis’ reform of annulment laws, and then spends a lot of time discussing whether in some very limited pastoral circumstances it might be okay to let some remarried persons receive Communion on some sort of case-by-case and limited basis–a discussion, by the way, that has yet to lead to any recommendations for action or any actual changes in anything at all–and this whole effort is surrounded by a major Trad freakout claiming that the whole thing amounts to evil liberals hellbent on proving Jesus wrong about the whole “gates of Hell not prevailing” thing, I imagine those on both sides who yearn for reconciliation of our two Churches must get discouraged.

The practice of Orthodoxy on divorce (even if erroneous, as some think it) is at least ancient. The practice of permitting married couples to use artificial contraception has nothing of ancient traditions going for it at all–it really is just giving people a pass on a pernicious form of modern sin. I know that some Orthodox scholars are troubled by this permissiveness. If nothing else, NFP and similar abstinence-based methods fit in well with Orthodoxy’s penitential practices which used to require married couples, especially married priests, to abstain from marital relations during major fasts and quite regularly even apart from the fasts; contraception has no such harmony with Orthodox traditions and practices.

Still, I think that the desire for reunification is quite strong among elements in both Churches, and that it may explain some of what we’re seeing not only with the Synod but in other areas as well.

#19 Comment By Patrick On October 20, 2015 @ 12:30 am

Hey, Rod: your reply is really, really good, thanks. (I meant the harrumph in good humor.) My rant was to some extent motivated by the fact that “you can’t judge by Western standards” is really unfalsifiable and could be used every time a Westerner points out some really uncomfortable fact about the supposedly more mystical east (and I agree that the east is generally more comfortable with mysticism, and Orthodoxy generally more so than Catholicism. It’s really too bad, but there it is.)

But, you know, sometimes I think easterners get ethnocentric (Hemispherical supremacist?) and just assume they’re “more spiritual” than the West and when observable facts (like my conspicuous consumption example) undermine that, they’ll retreat into “you don’t understand with your Western rational mind that deals with facts and analysis and logical conclusions, etc.” And that’s fine – that isn’t nothing – but it kind of sounds like a weasely (and patronizingly bigoted) discussion to say, “no matter what you say, I’ll say ‘of course a *Westerner* would think something so linear as gathering observable facts from the material world to support or refute a conclusion, what with your Scholastics. Pfff…the West amirite?”

Concretely: I vaguely remember you saying someone told you “you won’t understand Orthodoxy for ten years” when you converted. Now, really: the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ, Who has presumably called you into His Church and led you for your entire life, is now going to wait ten years to teach you – whom He loves – to “get” what a Russian child understands instinctually(?) because this child hasn’t a Western mind like you. Garbage. Oh, I believe it took you that long to “get” eastern thought: that’s not garbage. What’s garbage is that that is from the Holy Spirit who *wants you* to know Him and know God: it just sounds like the worldly accoutrement of, as I said, eastern-“we’re-oh-so-complicated” stuff that, while not entirely false, is an attribute of a particular people (and an annoying attribute) rather than an attribute of the True Church.

@ Fr. Frank: You made this Irish boy’s day writing that.

#20 Comment By Patrick On October 20, 2015 @ 12:44 am

By the way, I’ve always found this Greek Orthodox icon utterly transfixing:

[9]

It’s the eyes!

#21 Comment By ND On October 20, 2015 @ 12:36 pm

The late Fr. Thomas Hopko, forerly dean of St. Vladimir’s Seminary in NY, made a Podcast right near the end of his life that speaks to the fundamental differences between Orthodox and Western beliefs and practices regarding marriage, divorce and remarriage. It’s worth a moment of your time: [10]

#22 Comment By JonF On October 20, 2015 @ 2:25 pm

Bernie, your Catholic Encyclopedia is not a reliable source (note: I am not impugning your own honesty). It states things that are contradicted by other sources I have seen. For example, it was long the practice in Byzantium that spouses might remarry after divorce– it was allowed by Roman law and until the Macedonian dynasty marriage continued to be governed by Roman civil law with little input from the Church. Leo IV did not “force” the Church to accept this; rather the Church set a limit to it with the “three marriage limit” canon.
As for the second Council of Lyons, it was rejected in the East, as was the later 16th century Council that sought to reunify the churches. In both cases political exigencies led to emperors sending lackies West who were instructed to agree to anything and everything as long as they brought home the needed political goodies. However once the agreements became generally known thumbs were turned down on them.

#23 Comment By CatherineNY On October 20, 2015 @ 2:34 pm

@ND, I live right near St. Vladimir’s. I’ve heard that it is on the more liberal side of Orthodoxy, though I’m not sure what that means. At any rate, I plan to listen to the podcast.

#24 Comment By ND On October 20, 2015 @ 3:19 pm

CatherineNY, I have heard similar things about St. Vladimir’s. I (along with many other Orthodox laypeople and clergy that I know who cover much of the conservative/liberal spectrum) consider Fr. Tom to be pretty consistently grounded in historical orthodox teaching. I don’t consider him either a modernizer or a reactionary as Orthodox teachers go.

#25 Comment By Bernie On October 20, 2015 @ 5:09 pm

JonF,

What do you think of my earlier comment in this thread at 4:30 pm on Oct. 19 which quoted Section 3-C at the following? Thanks.

[7]

(It’s at 4:30 pm on Oct. 19.

)