Message from Pope Francis to Patriarch Bartholomew (Nov 20th, 2018)

Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew

This is a message from Pope Francis to the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, published Nov 30th, 2018. Some thoughts underneath the selection I’ve cited.

 

“….I convey my sentiments of deep affection, together with the assurance of my prayers for Your Holiness, beloved brother in Christ, and for the Church entrusted by our Lord to your pastoral care…Our Churches have safeguarded the Apostolic tradition with great care, along with the teaching of the first Ecumenical Councils and the Church Fathers, despite the differences that developed in local traditions and in theological formulations, which need to be more deeply understood and clarified. At the same time both Churches, with a sense of responsibility towards the world, have sensed that urgent call, which involves each of us who have been baptized, to proclaim the Gospel to all men and women. For this reason, we can work together today in the search for peace among peoples, for the abolition of all forms of slavery, for the respect and dignity of every human being and for the care of creation. With God’s help, through encounter and dialogue on our journey together over the last fifty years, we already experience being in communion, even though it is not yet full and complete. The search for the re-establishment of full communion is above all a response to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, who on the eve of his Passion prayed that his disciples “may all be one” (Jn 17:21)….”

 

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Panagia: The Immaculate and Predestined Mother of God

Interesting article by Fr Kimel’s blog. It seems to be that a great difficult exists for both Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholics, but in different ways. The Orthodox don’t have the burden of having to sustain arguments which necessarily prove the immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary, but they do have to explain why the tradition speaks so highly of Mary’s purity and sanctity as the unique theotokos. On the other hand, Roman Catholic have the difficulty of trying to maintain that the immaculate conception was definitely revealed by God and handed down through the ages. Obviously, the Roman Catholic, in this regard, is in the more difficult position. Why is that? Because, as Fr. Kimel records, nothing in a grammatical-historical reading of the Scriptures would require her to be immaculately conceived nor absolutely sinless. Secondly, the Church Fathers are mixed on whether she sinned or not, and there is a great deal of Latin fathers (mind you) who speak about the Virgin being born with the full effect of the curse from Adam.

Arguments that show the immaculate conception is a legitimate dogmatic development, and also, even her absolute sinlessness, are going to necessary resort to something which does not exist in either Scripture or the Patristic witness, namely, an analysis of what the Lord has prompted the bride of Christ, in a seemingly unpredictable and spontaneous way, to confess about the Theotokos in her overall career of teaching and to try and make a deduction from that which makes the most sense.

Eclectic Orthodoxy

“Most holy, most pure, most blessed and glorious Lady, Mother of God and Ever-Virgin Mary.” Panagia, Achrantos, Theotokos, Aeiparthenos—the titles abound, not only in the private prayers of Eastern Orthodox Christians but in the public liturgies and offices. A prayer to the Theotokos in Small Compline begins with these words: “O spotless, undefiled, incorrupt, immaculate, pure Virgin, Lady Bride of Christ.” In the Divine Liturgy, after the solemn consecration of the Holy Gifts, we sing the Axion Estin:

It is truly meet and right to bless you, O Theotokos,
Ever-blessed and most-pure mother of our God.
More honourable than the Cherubim,
And beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim,
Who without corruption gave birth to God the Word,
True Theotokos: we magnify you.

The Blessed Virgin Mary is first among the saints, the most holy and pure, beloved by God above all creatures. Her icon…

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The Eucharist is the Sacrifice of Christ – Cyprian of Carthage (258 AD)

Cyprian of Carthage

In the 3rd century, there were a group of Christians who began to try and celebrate the Eucharist with water instead of wine, and they were known as the Hydroparastatae or Aquarians. During the Decian persecution, they would substitute water for wine. St. Cyprian’s refutation of this erroneous practice comes to us in a letter to a certain Caecilius and it affords us the opportunity to see a 3rd century Saint expose the realism of the sacrifice of the holy Mass. I strongly encourage the readers to visit the full letter at the link after the citation to read the whole thing. Its priceless. Notice, most particularly, two things: how Cyprian describes the priest who offers the Eucharist to be doing what Christ himself did during the Last Supper, and how drastically important it is to get the Eucharistic tradition right in all its particulars.
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Papalotry and Episcopal Synodality: Two Ditches?

Council-Florence

Dr. Douglas Farrow, Professor of Theology and Christian Thought at McGill University, threw down the gauntlet in a recent article for Catholic World Report with a sharp critique of the current regime run by Pope Francis. Though it is clear he put much thought into the content, I have to say that the article is ultimately a bust. The beginning portion decries the growing rise of “Papalotry” that begin to show itself, according to Farrow, with even the famous Dictatus Papae which came out during the Pontificate of Pope St. Gregory VII (1073-1085). I could find you similar claims being made by at least Pope St. Nicholas I (858-867) in his interaction with King Lothair II and his overturning of Episcopal synods in Constantinople in favor of St. Ignatious as rightful occupant of the Patriarchal chair. But I digress. In any case, the current situation in Rome is that the Papacy is beginning to be exalted above its rightful place and appropriate function (see Cardinal Ouellet’s letter to Archbishop Vigano, for one example). Thereafter, in the second half of the article, Farrow decries the beefing up of Episcopal Synods as carrying the ability to exercise magisterial authority, since this will allow the ability of fragmented Synods and particular churches going their own way. With Francis’s desire to decentralize the Papacy, this reduces him to a quasi-neutral referee, and may, in the end, this plan for decentralization is just another form of returning to Gallicanism.

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Pope St. Nicholas the Great (858-867 AD): Letter to Archbishop Hincmar of Reims and the Bishops of the West concerning Photius

Pope_Nicholas_I

Here is a portion of the letter written by Pope St. Nicholas the Great to the Western bishops in response to a condemnatory letter from Constantinople against the Latins. He writes:
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Cyprianic-Nausea: Anglican Scholar Turns To Rome

Stcyprian

An award winning and Cambridge-reared scholar in Patristics and Early Christianity, Dr. Allen Brent M.A., D.D., who is former Professor in Early Christian History and Iconography at the University of London, King’s College, and who is currently Professor at the Patristics Institute of the Lateran University (Augustinianum) , has made his way into the Catholic Church. He was simultaneously ordained to the Catholic priesthood at Norwhich Cathedral as part of the Anglican Ordinariate.
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