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Catholics:The Ecumenical Councils

Discussion in 'Same Faith Debates' started by James the Persian, Jul 21, 2006.

  1. James the Persian

    James the Persian Dreptcredincios Crestin

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    Firstly, I'd like to point out that this is intended to be a debate for all who consider themselves adherents to the Catholic faith and not just RCs. This is in response to Victor's post in the Pinning down the Apostasy thread, where he referred to his understanding of the Ecumenical Councils. Answering there would have taken the thread way off topic, so I'll do so here. There are a number of misconceptions/misunderstandings in the post Victor made as well as some things I would like to clarify.


    Now this is a new one on me. I know that RC apologists like to claim (contrary to the accounts of contemporaries who were actually at the council) that Hosius presided over the council as a Papal legate, but I've never heard anyone claim that he prompted it. I certainly do not believe that this is the case. Would you care to provide some evidence for your claim?

    Now this paragraph I can agree with wholheartedly but I mast ask, when you refer to the vast majority of Councils not being called by the Pope, are we talking common councils or the post-Schism RC ones, or both? The Pope didn't call a single one of the seven Ecumenical Councils we both accept, and in fact opposed them on occasion (notably Rome's opposition to canon 28 of Chalcedon).


    Do you mean that a council had to be approved by the Pope to be Ecumenical or are you just stating the historical fact that he did approve them? If you mean the former, this is patently false. If you mean the latter, then you are mostly correct (though Rome did not accept Chalcedon in its entirety until the establishment of the puppet Latin Patriarchate during the 60 or so years after the sacking of Constantinople. Nonetheless, everyone in the east accepted all of the canons of Chalcedon and put them into practice, Papal blessing or no. All churches were sent the acts of the councils to approve and Rome was in no way peculiar in this. The only peculiarity was that as Rome was the only western Apostolic see, she represented all the west and hence her opinion was of particular importance.


    This is totally correct. More often than not the overwhelming majority of the delegates at the councils were from the eastern sees.


    Did he? How many have you had post-Schism, because I'm certain he didn't attend any of the first seven, or the one you call the Eighth either.

    I'll leave it at that for the moment. I'l, start providing sources for my position as soon as I am certain of what Victor was trying to argue. I'm fairly sure now as it is the common RC position, though I cannot se any historical merit in it whatsoever, but I'd rather know exactluy what view Victor espouses before I end up arguing against a strawman.

    James
     
  2. Quiddity

    Quiddity UndertheInfluenceofGiants

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    By prompt I simply meant that it was Hosius who pushed the emperor to see the seriousness of Arianism. He kept the emperor on his toes in regards to Church affairs. But it was on the authority of the emperor that it was called. It is not historically known whether the emperor in convoking the Council acted solely in his own name or in concert with the pope; however, it is probable that Constantine and Sylvester came to an agreement (Third Council of Constantinople does indicate it though). The pope’s lack of action in regards to calling a Council does little to show his lack of superior authority. His approval of a Council (whether local or ecumenical) is what made it binding on the Church.

    A Brief word on the Pope’s legates and Papal authority concerning Councils. We do believe Hosius of Cardova along with Victor and Vincentius (priests) were the Pope’s legates. There is good reason to believe this:
    1. Hosisus of Cardova was the highest ranking Latin official who was well informed in Arian affairs. (Bishop of Spain).
    2. He basically ran the Council as president of the sessions.
    3. Hosisus signed off the Council
    4. Not only did Hosius run the sessions but Victor and Vincentius were helping him out.
    5. He was a Spanish Bishop in Rome advising the emperor. No one will argue that this was the jurisdiction of Pope Sylvester.
    6. The behavior of Popes using a Bishop of another province is shown with St. Cyril of Alexandria; where in
    The Ecumenical Council of Ephesus in 431 AD he was given authority by Pope Celestine to represent him with the papal legates. Just read this letter that was read and embraced by this holy Ecumenical Council.

    Extracts from the Acts of the Council of Ephesus, session 3:

    “Philip the presbyter and legate of the Apostolic See said: There is no doubt, and in fact it has been known in all ages, that the holy and most blessed Peter, prince and head of the Apostles, pillar of the faith, and foundation of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior and redeemer of the human race, and that to him was given the power of loosing and binding sins; who down even to today and forever both lives and judges in his successors. The holy and most blessed Pope Celestine, according to due order, is his successor and holds his place.”

    7. History before the Council clears up misunderstandings. First, the Donatist heresy. Constantine turned over the problem to the Pope Miltiades who held a synod in Rome and settled the controversy in 312.
    8. When the Donatist problem persisted, another Council was called for, but there was a new Pope by the name of Silvester (314-335). Let’s just say, he was not a real assertive Pope. We have absolutely nothing that he wrote in existence. There is not even a mention of anything. The Council of Arles repeated everything the Pope (Miltiades) had already said and they sent a deferential letter to Pope Silvester, but we have no evidence of a response. The world believed in the primacy, but the Pope did not seem to want to do anything with his authority!
    9. When the Arian crisis hit the world soon after the Council of Arles, Pope Silvester characteristically did not take charge of the matter as he should have. Even though we know that Patriarch Alexander of Alexandria wrote to the Pope about the crisis. And we know that the Pope ratified the Council of Nicea afterward, and was most likely involved in the calling of the Council as mentioned above, he was not an active Pope (314-335) and he chose, for whatever reason, to remain such. But this says nothing of the 9.
    10. Primacy of the bishop of Rome. In fact, the fact that the Popes legates (bishop Hosius, who was probably sent by the Pope, and two priests who were definitely legates of the Pope) presided at that Council, even over the Patriarchs of the other three Patriarchates.
    11. Some historians will claim that Hosius was not a representative of the Pope. He never said so when he signed the documents from the Council. In fact, we have a parallel between Nicea and Ephesus in 431. St. Cyril represented the Pope along with two priests from Rome, just as Hosius and two priests from Rome presided at Nicea. St. Cyril did not state this when he signed the documents, but we know that he was the representative of the Pope from other documents. In fact, he opened the Council in the name of the Pope on May 15, 431 (Carroll, Vol. 2, p. 93).

    The Arabic canons of Nicaea, though not included in the official canons of Nicea, they give us great insight into the Eastern understanding of the primacy of Rome. This was not just a Western phenomenon:

    “The patriarch must consider what thing are done by the archbishops and bishops in their provinces…just as he who occupies the chair of Rome, is the head and prince of all patriarchs; since he is the first, as was Peter, to whom power is given over all Christian princes, and over all their peoples, as he who is the Vicar of Christ Our Lord over all peoplesand over the whole christian Church, and whosoever shall gainsay this is excommunicated by the Synod footnote p.196 Upon this rock {Labbe & Cossart, Concilia, as quoted by Dolan See of Peter, 48-49}”

    Ok I’ll stop here. This is a beefy topic and I new that it could get lengthy so I purposely was leaving it for later this week.

    Peace be with you,

    ~Victor
     
  3. Quiddity

    Quiddity UndertheInfluenceofGiants

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    Also, (ok now I'm done...:D )

    Pope Silvester

    The Coptic and Greek Churches celebrate his feast on January 2. The Menaion which contains liturgical prayers says of St. Silvester:

    God-bearing Father Silvester, you appeared as a pillar of fire, in sacred fashion leading the sacred college, and as an overshadowing cloud, delivering the faithful from the Egyptian [Arian] error and on every occasion leading them with unerring teachings to divine land... Enriched with the chair of the coryphaeus of the apostles... as a most marvelous minister of God... beautifying, strengthening and magnifying the Church with divine teachings, as a light-bearing star, illumining with the light of virtues... You appeared as the coryphaeus, and hieromystes of the sacred college, and adorned the... throne of the coryphaeus of the disciples... As the divine coryphaeus you established the most holy dogma, destroying the impious dogmas of heretics... [Menaion, Athens 1979, January, 17, 22, 24]
     
  4. James the Persian

    James the Persian Dreptcredincios Crestin

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    Victor,

    Whilst I'm glad that you have finally had a chance to reply and I will cheerfully get to answering your post (some of your points seem dubious to say the least), at this point I merely want to make a request. Could you please answer the questions I raised in the OP? They were meant to clarify your position so that I didn't start tilting at strawmen. I'm aware that this topic is likely to seriously divide us and has a potential for going south extremely rapidly, so I would rather not assume divisions that may or may not be there.

    The only thing I would like to directly reply to now is that of Hosius' status. I wasn't denying that he was a Papal legate (though there is little evidence either way, I'm perfectly willing to accept that he was), just that he presided over the council. Neither he nor any other western bishop is mentioned by any contemporary who attended the council as a president (and there were clearly several, not one, all under the overall presidency of the Emperor). I have certainly looked into this and I see almost no historical basis for the usual RC claims in this regard and much that completely contradicts it.

    James
     
  5. James the Persian

    James the Persian Dreptcredincios Crestin

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    All I will say about this is that such language is used frequently with regards to other figures who you would never consider to have the position you read into this (i.e. they weren't Popes of Rome) and that the phrase coryphaeus of the disciples does not exclusively refer to Peter (it's been used, for instance of Paul, as well) and nor does the throne, even if of Peter (as it is in this instance) refer solely to Rome. Even one of your own Popes, St. Gregory the Great, clearly referred to Rome, Alexandria and Antioch jointly being the See of Peter, for instance. All this shows is that Pope Sylvester was (and is) held in very high regard by the Church. That I have absolutely no argument with, but you are reading into the text, if you see Papal Supremacy here, something that is not intended.

    James
     
  6. James the Persian

    James the Persian Dreptcredincios Crestin

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    Victor,

    Whilst I still anticipate your replies to the other questions I asked in the OP, I feel that I can probably respond to the following points fairly safely without falling into the trap of arguing against strawmen, so I shall attempt to do so.
    This I cannot argue with, but I do wonder just how his being the highest ranking Latin clergyman leads to the suggestion that he presided.
    This is almost without any historical foundation. Eusebius of Caesaria suggests (by his circumspect way of talking of the bishop in question) that it was he who had the first place. The historian Socrates confirms this. Theodoret says it was Eustathius of Antioch. Theodore of Mopsuestia identifies the bishop as Alexander of Alexandria. According to Eusebius, Constantine referred to the presidents of the council. Not one contemporary eyewitness describes Hosius as one of these presidents and certainly not as the president. The first mention of Hosius in this regard did not come about until the 5th century when it was asserted by Gelasius of Cyzicus. He, clearly, was not an eyewitness to the council.
    As most of the other bishops. What does this prove? At best it provides evidence for Hosius representing the Pope of Rome (as he signed first) but it says nothing about his presiding. The majority of the other bishops who signed the acts of the council weren't presiding over it either.
    Given that the evidence suggests that Hosius had no such position, whether or not he was aided by the other legates is moot.
    Quite right, but are you trying to say that being a bishop in the See of Rome means that his appearance at the council could only happen if he represented him as a Papal legate? That really doesn't seem likely. Otherwise, though, the point is tangential at best.
    But this was an entirely unusual situation and has nothing to do with the idea of a Papal legate. The Pope of Rome delegated his privilege to head the council to Alexandria solely to avoid the council being presided over by the heretical Patriarch of Constantinople who would normally have been next in line to do so. Alexandria was not under the jurisdiction of Rome and did not represent Rome in the sense that a legate would at all, merely took the honour of heading the council which, by rights, was Rome's. You simply cannot argue from this example that a simple papal legate would have the right to preside over the council in the Pope's stead when the other Patriarchs were present. If that was the case, Rome could have chosen anyone, but she did not. She chose the third Patriarch in line. This does not bolster the RC position at all but, rather, damages it.

    We wouldn't argue with this. None of the language is exclusive. Celestine was clearly a successor to Peter, but so is every bishop (and this is clearly the Patristic concensus). He is, therefore, successor to Peter, but not the successor. Such flattering hyperbole is common and not just applied to Popes during the period. If you like, I can find you examples of exactly this sort of language levelled at other figures. Again, this does not bolster your case.

    As was completely proper. The heresy primarily affected Italy and North Africa (particularly the latter), both in the Pope's jurisdiction, and at the time Constantine was ruler of the west only. I fail to see how this clears up anything.
    The attitude of both the North African and Gaulish bishops to the Pope of Rome during the Donatist controversy rather walks all over the idea that the Pope had any authority over them. They did, eventually, accept the decrees of the councils called, but not once did they defer to the Pope's opinion as final. There is nothing in this episode in history that would support the idea of Papal supremacy.
    This is probably quite true, but seems of little relevance. The only thing I would take issue with is the idea that the Pope ratified the council. That was clearly done by Constantine as the letter preserved by Eusebius, shows. The Pope of Rome had no special part in this.
    ...
     
  7. James the Persian

    James the Persian Dreptcredincios Crestin

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    Ctd.

    Nobody is denying primacy, just supremacy. As, in fact, the evidence does not suggest, and in fact contradicts, the idea that the Papla legates presided at Nicea, this point is nothing more than wishful thinking. Later events also show that simple bishops never outranked the patriarchs at the councils once the relative rankings of the Sees were established (which, initially, was at Nicea), no matter who they represented.
    I already dealt with this above.

    These canons are not and never were accepted as such. It amazes me that you would even consider using such dubious documents as this. It's almost as bad as if you'd used the False Decretals. There is absolutely no historical reason to believe that these canons are anything to do with Nicea, they contradict the accounts of the early historians as to the number of canons promulgated at Nicea and, therefore, are completely worthless as evidence. They show nothing of the eastern mind at all, but directly contradict it. They may show the mind of the Maronites, but they are eastern rite Roman Catholics, not Orthodox.

    James
     
  8. Quiddity

    Quiddity UndertheInfluenceofGiants

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    It does me (nor anybody reading) any good you calling my points dubious. I'd much rather be corrected and learn from it. My intention was to answer all your points but answering your first question just resulted in a long post and decided to stop there.

    ~Victor
     
  9. Quiddity

    Quiddity UndertheInfluenceofGiants

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    It is beyond me how you could extract what you said with what the quote said. I just don't get it. It was clearly talking of Pope Sylvester and Peter. There is absolutely good reason to think what we think about Peter. Both our Tradition and EO Tradition form our glasses through which we read. I'll move on.


     
  10. Quiddity

    Quiddity UndertheInfluenceofGiants

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    Well if he was a Bishop of another province, it would have been unlikely that he would come to advise the emperor where another patriarch (Pope Sylvester) presided. He was already in Rome advising the Emperor and was a Bishop of the West. Who else would be a better pick in the Pope's eyes?

    The point that I was trying to make is that he was the voice of the sessions. The emperor opened up the Council in Latin and was followed by Hosius. I'm perfectly content with accepting that Hosius more then likely delegated the direction of discussion and called upon Arius himself to show himself before the Council. His presence was both political (friend of the emperor) and ecclesiastical. On an authoritative level there were plenty of Bishops in the East that would certainly have more authoritative pull then Hosius himself. But that's irrelavent to us. Hosius and the two priests were not there on their own authority, but that of papal representative authority.

    Ok, now I'm curious as to what you mean by "presiding"?

    The intention was to show the consistant behaivor of the Bishops of Rome. Send one Bishop, with two legates under his authority. As I noted elsewhere, the same behaivor was passed to St. Cyril of Alexandria.

    More then likely, he would have been in attendance irregardless of him being a legate. His connection to the emperor and his involvement with the Donatist and Arius was enough to have him attend. I can see now how this point is tangential at best. :)
    Forgive me James but this whole idea of honor is only going to get the EO claims so far. Please show me where some other Patriarch is called "prince and head of the Apostles"?
     
  11. Quiddity

    Quiddity UndertheInfluenceofGiants

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    The conquering of Licinius only expediated the intentions of Constantine. The re-establishment of religious peace as well as of civil order was something he was pushing even before he became the sole emperor. Arius was causing problems in the East more then the West, so it was proper for the emperor to call a Council in the East. The Eastern presence was both political and of interest mostly to the East. After all, this was there new emperor.

    It does absolutely nothing to walk over our idea. Melitianism (also adressed in Nicea) was a problem in the entire Church. It was not reserved to Rome, as you are suggesting. Bishops and priests often questioned what was or was not allowed in their ecclesiastical faculties.

    This flies in the face of the historical reality that Constantine wasn't even fully aware of the gravity of Church affairs. Like I said, Hosius kept him on his toes. Why else do you think he requested all the Bishops to come immediately? Because once he saw that his letter had no affect in the controversy, it was crucial to keep order in his new empire. The Council could have concluded that the Trinity consists of three seperate gods and as long as order was restored, Constantine would be a happy man.
     
  12. Quiddity

    Quiddity UndertheInfluenceofGiants

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    Do have something that can help me understand why I should take "primacy" to be attached to honor vs. honor and authority. Most all the ones mentioned thus far don't even mention "honor".

    Am I misunderstanding you in thinking that you are questioning that Hosius along with two other priests presided at the Council? Or are you simply questioning their papal authority?
    What? Eastern Roman Catholics were non-existant back then. What are you talking about?

    I clearly noted it wasn't included in the official canon of Nicea.
     
  13. Quiddity

    Quiddity UndertheInfluenceofGiants

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    The following is a reply from Dr. Warren Carroll, orthodox Catholic historian. Figured it would be of interest to the topic at hand.

    I also urge you to review the last four chapters of Volume I, The Founding of Christendom, which present the very strong evidence that the Bishop of Rome did have authority over the whole Church from the beginning, the first specific indicator being the letter of Pope Clement I to the Corinthians about 95 A.D., then a passage from St. Irenaeus in his Against Heresies, then the decree of Pope Victor I (about 200) prescribing the date for celebrating Easter, as against the date then being used in Asia Minor (now Turkey). Both Pope Clement's letter to the Corinthians and Pope Victor's decree rejecting the use of the 14th day of the month Nisan to celebrate Easter in Asia Minor, are exercises of the Pope's universal jurisdiction in the Church, far outside Italy. The situation at the Council of Nicaea has to be judged with these background facts in mind.


    It is true, and I state, that there is no specific evidence that Ossius was specifically designated as a papal representative at Nicaea. But I maintain that it is highly probable, for the reasons given. Ossius may very well have been--in fact, I would say that he probably was--suggested or even "nominated" as president of the Council by Emperor Constantine, who obviously had complete confidence in him. But since the Pope sent two men to represent him at the Council, it seems unreasonable to me that he would not have confirmed the presiding officer if he were not to designate one of his representatives for that position.
    The records of the Council make it clear that Ossius, not Constantine, presided (Eusebius' vague reference to "several presidents" cannot stand against the records of the Council itself). Constantine was present and did intervene; he promised the Council of Nicaea his support and protection, which he gave it; it might well not have been held but for him. But the presence of papal representatives, specifically designated as such, means it must have had at least the Pope's approval, otherwise he would not have sent them. All the successful ecumenical councils of the first six centuries of the Church required the cooperation of both Pope and Emperor, and we know that all the others had that. Only for Nicaea, because of our dearth of information about Pope Silvester, is there room for doubt about the Pope's role.

    Something to think about from one of your own contemporaries.
     
  14. Quiddity

    Quiddity UndertheInfluenceofGiants

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    Name one Council he opposed and didn't become part of the faith? (Aside from Chalcedon)

    More interesting is that most all Councils we do agree with were NOT opposed by the Pope.

    I was talking about both. Nowadays, in the West, you cannot call a Council without Rome's approval. But all were approved by the Pope whether it was called by him or not.
     
  15. Quiddity

    Quiddity UndertheInfluenceofGiants

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    I mean both. A Council (whether Ecumenical or not) if approved by Rome was binding. Some more examples of this:

    Pope Julius (337-352)

    The Eusebians believed Rome reserved the right to overthrow Novation without the East. The east was attempting to depose Athanasius without interference from the West. Julius responded to them in a letter which was preserved by Athanasius:
    It behooved you, beloved, to come hither [to Rome], and not to refuse, in order that this business may be terminated, for reason requires this... O beloved!...For even if any offenses had been committed by these men, as you say, the judgment ought to have been in accordance with the rule of the church, and not thus...And why were we not written to especially with regard to the church of Alexandria? Or are you ignorant that this has been the custom, first to write to us, and that thus what is just be decreed from here? If therefore any such suspicion fell upon the bishop there [at Alexandria], it was befitting to write to this church. Not thus were the ordinances of Paul, not thus have the Fathers handed it down to us. This is a new decree, and a new institution. Bear with me, I exhort you, for what I write is for the common good. For what we have received from the blessed apostle Peter, the same do I manifest to you. [Apol., 35. PG 25: 305-8]

    The historian Sozomen who also attended Nicea wrote of Pope Julius (337-352),
    The bishop of Rome, having examined the case of each one, and finding them all of one mind about the dogma of the Council of Nicea, received them into communion as being of the same faith [as himself]. And because he had the care of all, owing to the dignity of his see, he restored each one to his church... [HE III, 8]

    The historian Socrates (also attended Nicea)) said something along the same line as Sozomen,
    Each one explained his case to Julius, bishop of Rome, and he, by virtue of the prerogative of the church of Rome, strengthened them with very firm letters and sent them back into the East, restoring to them their sees and reprimanding those who had temerariously deposed them. [HE II, 15]

    Socrates also wrote that Julius rebuked the Eusebians on the grounds that,
    ...it is unlawful to legislate for the churches without the consent of the bishop of Rome [HE II, 17 ]

    Sardica

    Canons 3-5 of Sardica deal with appeals made to the Bishop or Rome.

    The canons of Sardica were included in collections of the Latin, Syriac, Armenian and Greek churches.

    The council wrote to Pope Julius:

    ... most beloved brother, although you were separated in the body, you were present by a like mind and will...For this will seem best and most exceedingly fitting if the bishops of the Lord, from each of the different provinces, refer to the head [caput], that is, the see of Peter the apostle...[Mansi 3: 40]

    Eastern subscriptions to the Council of Sardica include Phrygia, Isauria, Ancyra, Gaza, Thrace, Larissa, Thessalonica, Nicopolis, Dardania, Macedonia, Achaia, Thessalia, Cyprus, Asia, Dacia, Pannonia, Gaul, and Athanasius himself. [Athanasius, Apol. 37-50. PG 25: 311 sq. Cf. Mansi 3: 38-9]

    The Byzantine Council of Trullo, in 692, also accepted the canons of Sardica. [Mansi 11: 940]

    So much for the Bishops of Gaul walking over our stance eh?


    Cyril and Celestine

    Celestine instructs St. Cyril that Nestorius has to retract in ten days or face excommunication:

    Wherefore, having assumed unto yourself the authority of our See, and using our stead and our place with authority, you shall execute this sentence with the utmost strictness...We have written the same things to our brethren and fellow bishops John, Rufus, Juvenal and Flavian, so that our sentence, or rather the divine sentence of Christ our God concerning him, may be made known. [PL 50: 463]

    Sounds more then honor to me. I don't say that to inflame you or anything but I really am trying to see where you are coming from. As I've said before "we're all for councils". It is not a pope vs. councils. The Catholic position is that they work together, in conjunction -- not papal power and no conciliar input, or councils with no pope (Orthodoxy and Anglicanism), or neither councils nor popes (Protestantism). I contend that our system is the most biblical, incorporating the abundant Petrine data indicating his primacy, and conciliar indications, such as the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15).

    ~Victor
     
  16. Quiddity

    Quiddity UndertheInfluenceofGiants

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    James, please let me know if I missed anything. I have mess of notes and books and It often takes me longer to find my own stuff then to actually reply to you. I really don't want this to be a further burden between us and between our Churches. Talking about it in civility is the only option we have. So getting upset and emotional about it all will take conversations south immediately. I have always said that I really want to change the tone of our ancestors strong emotional leanings. Although justified, it made it more difficult to talk about the simplest things about our Churches.

    Peace be with you,

    ~Victor
     
  17. James the Persian

    James the Persian Dreptcredincios Crestin

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    I hope that this was just a reminder to not become emotional rather than a suggestion that I already have done so. I don't believe I have and I have tried to remain civil throughout.

    James
     
  18. James the Persian

    James the Persian Dreptcredincios Crestin

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    OK. I see absolutely no evidence of Peter having a primacy such as the RCC would claim for him either in the Bible or in the Fathers. I see no evidence of the east ever accepting Roman claims to a supremacy once they were made. I see no evidence whatsoever of a monarchic rather than conciliar ecclesiology in either Scripture or the Fathers except in claims made by Rome which were always and immediately rejected in the east. I see, moreover, no justification in the early centuries, either east or west, for the belief that the Pope of Rome is the, rather than a, successor to Peter.

    I do see odd phrases taken out of context by Roman Catholic apologists which sem to bolster your position when seen in isolation but which do the precise opposite when read in context. I do see the letters of St. Gregory the Great clearly condemning the sort of monarchic view that would later be taken by Rome to such a degree as to call anyone who would claim universal authority a precursor of the Antichrist. Such, of course, was the hyperbolic style of the times and I'm not suggesting that the Pope actually is a precursor of the Antichrist, but to claim that he, as Pope, had the sort of supremacy that Rome now claims is nonsensical given his evident opposition to, indeed horror of, such an idea:

    Even read within the context of not just this one, but the whole series of letters, it's hard to see how any hint of Papal supremacy can be found in these words. On the contrary, I don't think that the words of any eastern bishop have ever been so clearly opposed to this idea.

    If you have contemporary (to the events in question) sources that you think bolster the position of the RCC, please provide them and I will take a look and argue my case, but please don't rely on later interpretations of them. Both of us can provide secondary or tertiary sources that will agree with our positions and they will solve nothing. My position is that the Ecumenical Councils are the highest authority in the Church, over all bishops. Yours, in that you posit that the Pope must approve all such councils, is that the Pope is above the Ecumenical Councils. This is what we should be looking at.

    You are correct that I do not believe that Hosius had any authority at Nicea, whether Papal legate or not. I have seen no evidence to suggest that he did (and you have not provided anything really) and much to suggest he did not, but that is really a side issue which we may as well leave for now unless you have something further to add.

    I would just like to end by asking, because I think the answer to this question would help illuminate your position, whether you think that the Pope of Rome has such authority as to be able to demote a council unilaterally or raise one that has never been considered ecumenical to such a status, again without concern for the agreement his fellow bishops?

    James
     
  19. Quiddity

    Quiddity UndertheInfluenceofGiants

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    Yes you have. I meant it as a reminder. :)
     
  20. Quiddity

    Quiddity UndertheInfluenceofGiants

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    Ok James, this line of thinking has become repetitious and perhaps It’s justified in your own mind due to your confrontations with other RC’s. But I will not sit here and take another hit of “this claim is out of context”. Months back you said the same exact thing to me and I swallowed that bitter pill and learned from it. Because at the time, you were right. I was not picking up the full text and reading the context. I assure you that is no longer the case. Before even reading the Council of Nicea, I read about the people involved (Hosius, Sylvester, St. Alexander, etc.) the issues at hand (Arianism, Melitianism) and anything else I felt was relevant to it. Is this not getting context? Please, give me a bit more credit then your repetitious “out of context”. I’d much rather get a “your not understanding”.

    Here is a good example where you can tell me how this same Pope could make the above statement and make the following statements:

    …decrees of the Roman bishops, which because of the height of the Apostolic See have an authority not inferior to that of councils.

    Also Pope St. Gregory the Great called Rome the, "the head of all the churches." and said of the Church of Constantinople, "who doubts that it is subject to the Apostolic See? The most pious lord, the emperor, and our brother, the bishop of the same city, also profess this assiduously

    Also,
    As to what he [the primate of Byzacena in Africa] says about being subject to the Apostolic See: if any fault be found in the bishops, I know not what bishop is not subject to it.

    It is important to note what was going on at the time that would provoke Pope Gregory to say the above. In short John the Faster, Patriarch of Constantinople, wanted to be bishop even of the dioceses of subordinate bishops, reducing them to mere agents, and making himself the universal or only real bishop. Pope Gregory condemned this intention, and wrote to John the Faster telling him that he had no right to claim to be universal bishop or "sole" bishop in his Patriarchate.

    The Pope is not the "only" Bishop; and, although his power is supreme, his is not the "only" power. It has always been Catholic teaching that the bishops are not mere agents of the Pope, but true successors of the Apostles. The supreme authority of Peter is perpetuated in the Popes; but the power and authority of the other Apostles is perpetuated in the other bishops in the true sense of the word.

    So by “Universal Bishop” Pope Gregory intended it as if by that term one meant there was only one bishop for the whole world and that all other "bishops" were bishops in name only, with no real authority of their own. Such a distorted version of the biblical model of bishops is incompatible with Catholic teaching. And that is exactly what John the Faster was doing, hence the quote above.
    Like Pope Gregory, Vatican I rejected ultramontanism theology regarding the Pope. Opting for a more moderate papal infallibility. Interestingly by a Pope (Pope Pius IX) who people talked about being as the embodiment of papal power gone awry. Seems that the Holy Spirit has His own ways of overcoming real or alleged faults of one man if that was indeed the case.

    The Bishop of Rome has great concern for the agreement of his fellow bishops. Conciliar input has been the norm through which the Bishop of Rome has functioned. Nonetheless, papal approbation is required to give ecumenical value and authority to conciliar decrees. This is perhaps the crux of our disagreement.

    Like Vatican I and Pope Gregory I think the key is a very loose and light papal jurisdiction. If all could agree in principle and allow the liturgical and customary diversity that in fact exists, with Patriarchs running the show in their own domain, with only minimal papal input, then we could accomplish some sort of reunion. Perhaps naïve for me to think this but I wish it to be so.

    Peace be with you,

    ~Victor
     
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