"This alliance may enable European Catholics and Orthodox to fight together against secularism, liberalism and relativism prevailing in modern Europe, may help them to speak with one voice in addressing secular society, may provide for them an ample space where they will discuss modern issues and come to common positions."
I think that in many ways this should precede any further theological talks. I think that in many ways such talks just inflame things, whereas this would help us see each other as equals and brothers in arms. Then perhaps we can talk about issues without defensiveness. The Churches need to know how to "play together nicely", not just from on high in the hierarchy, but at the level of individual Christians within society.
"Furthermore, that the body of tradition is not of divine origin nor apostolic is proven by the fact that some traditions contradict others. The church fathers repeatedly contradict one another. When a Roman Catholic priest is ordained he solemnly vows to interpret the Scriptures only according to 'the unanimous consent' of the fathers. But such 'unanimous consent' is purely a myth. The fact is they scarcely agree on any doctrine. They contradict each other, and even contradict themselves as they change their minds and affirm what they previously had denied. Augustine, the greatest of the fathers, in his later life wrote a special book in which he set forth his Retractions. Some of the fathers of the second century held that Christ would return shortly and that he would personally reign in Jerusalem for a thousand years. But two of the best known scholars of the early church, Origen (185-254) and Augustine (354-430) wrote against that view. The early fathers condemned the use of images in worship, while later ones approve such use. The early church almost unanimously advocated the reading and free use of the Scriptures, while later ones restricted such reading and use. Gregory the Great, bishop of Rome and the greatest of the early bishops, denounced the assumption of the title of Universal Bishop as anti-Christian. But later Popes even to the present have been very insistent of using that and similar titles which assert universal authority. Where, then, is the universal tradition and unanimous consent of the fathers to papal doctrine?"
– Loraine Boettner, Roman Catholicism (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1962), pp. 78-79
Why/how are post-schism councils valid? I thought all the sees had to be represented in order for councils to make infallible statements. Since the Orthodox still have valid orders, there are apostolic sees that have not participated in councils with the West for nearly a millennium. What am I missing?
[A small addition has been made to this post to clarify a point. – Funky]
I have a question for my fellow Catholics on this the Feast of the Immaculate Conception
Why did the Church find it necessary to define the Marian dogmas as such? Shouldn’t dogma be limited to those articles of faith which are absolutely required for salvation? As far as I know, no authentic orthodox Christian church requires belief in the Marian dogmas for salvation. Though Tradition can supplement and even interpret Scripture, it cannot contradict Scripture. Scripture states quite clearly that faith in Jesus Christ is what’s needed for salvation. One could also argue that participation in the sacraments is needed, too, but that’s another post. Put succinctly, if it’s not in the accepted creeds, it’s not, strictly speaking, necessary, though it may be appropriate or even laudable.
My faith is not affected, for good or ill, by whether or not Mary was conceived without sin. Nor is it affected by her bodily assumption into Heaven. I accept these dogmas as a faithful and obedient Catholic, but I do not understand why they are important.
Could someone please explain why they were defined? In particular, why couldn’t they remain at the level of doctrine rather than be promoted to dogma? I’ve heard that the Orthodox agree that Mary was conceived without sin, but were uncomfortable about declaring as dogma. Since the Orthodox Church is the only other Church we recognize as maintaining the Deposit of Faith, their discomfort gives me pause.
On a related note, where does the tradition of Mary’s perpetual virginity come from? I know the words for "brother" and "sister" in Scripture can mean "cousin" or other relatives, but what evidential support do we have for this interpretation?