From the Stump of Canon the Barbarian: Cats and Dogmas

This just in from Canon the Barbarian:

No dogmatic differences between the Orthodox Church and Roman Catholicism?

I suppose I need to use that old favorite disclaimer: “Well, I’m not a theologian . . .” On the other hand,

I’m not a zoologist, but I can tell the difference between a donkey and a seahorse. I’m not a geologist, but I can tell the difference between a mountain and a valley.

I’m not a chef, but I can tell the difference between a Waldorf Salad and lawn clippings. I’m not an artist, but I can tell the difference between a Picasso and a shirt stain.

I’m not a musician, but I can tell the difference between a symphony and flatulence. I’m not a banker, but I can tell the difference between a bar of gold and an overdraft fee.

When it comes to comparing Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism:

I’m not a chemist, but I can tell the difference between oil and water. They don’t mix.

Sure, they have similarities. They are both liquids.

They can both be clear. Or not. Still, they are not the same.

Unity of the two is not inevitable. It’s impossible. As I said, I am not a chemist. I am not a theologian.

However, I do know that there are many theological differences between Orthodoxy and Catholicism.

Saying the two are the same makes about as much sense as drinking oil like water – or adding water to an engine as oil.

If your faith is Orthodox, very good. If you cherish the Roman Catholic faith, very well.

Just be honest. Don’t pretend they are exactly one and the same thing with no “dogmatic” distinctions. Then again, I am a “barbarian.”

I know absolutely nothing about poetry or plumbing. Anyhow, I have to get back to my treehouse.

Dinner tonight is gopher and poison berries.


As always, we encourage our readers to send in their contributions to the blog.  Many thanks to “Canon the Barbarian.”


  1. I’m not a magician Spock…just an old country doctor!
    (Bones McCoy)

  2. If there are no differences, as Pat. Bartholomew has stated, then who or what has suddenly changed? There is obviously no indication that Pope Francis gave up his Roman Catholic heresies and suddenly become Orthodox. So did Bartholomew change his views and suddenly become Greek Catholic, and is encouraging/forcing everyone else to tag along? I think so.

    • Michael Bauman says

      I do not think it was sudden, it is possible Bart the Betrayer has always been Greek Catholic.

      • Michael Bauman,
        “I do not think it was sudden, it is possible Bart the Betrayer has always been Greek Catholic.”

        Therefore it is equally possible that
        he has always worked on this project:
        To make Orthodoxy slowly but surely Greek Catholic with a fully-blown Papist mentality.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Ioanni, I believe that you may be on to something. Hence, I am going to ask you all to pray for Patriarch Bartholomew as I believe he is under intense spiritual attack.

          I’d rather not get into the particulars but Ioanni is on to something. And that is this: When one goes down this road for many years (and Bartholomew has), it becomes fraught with peril.

        • Nelly Salopitas says

          Uniate Greeks who spent most of the Turkocracy under Venice want reunion with Rome. When Chios was liberated in 1912 it was largely RC. Constantelos said the western powers in the 1800s did their best to emphasize the Greek pagan past in order to undercut ties to Russia. Many secular Greeks (especially the gyro mafia in Astoria) accuse the church of selling out to the Turks by overturning the Council of Florence so the Russians could have better access to the straits.

  3. Vlad,
    Article 24 of the Crete council’s relations document says,  restoring unity is taking on new forms to answer the new circumstances’. Dogmas and traditions are irrelevant in this new paradigm. Canonization of Saints like St.Mark Of Ephesus and encyclicals such as that of 1848 and 1895 are relics of the defunct Ottomon Empire. The new paradigm is a new christianity for the new Europe under the EU. This retains Rome and Constantinople as a duarchy in Europe and all barbarian lands (Afterall Peter and Andrew are brothers). The Church of Greece has had this article on their official church website for like 25 years now:
    Basically as Constantine established christianity for his empire, a new vision for christianity must replace it for this new pan-European empire.

  4. Monk James Silver says

    I am personally aware of many Roman Catholics who converted to Orthodox Christianity for serious theological reasons. This number includes several Jesuit priests of my acquaintance.

    At the same time, and in my limited experience, I am aware of only two people who converted from Orthodox Christianity to Catholicism for theological reasons. I did not know either of these two men personally, but they took the time to write about their decision. On closer examination, I found that their theological reasons for becoming RC were based on some great misunderstandings and a few outright lies.

    Altogether, and with a few prior agreements to stabilize the definitions of the philosophical and theological vocabulary which we must use, I suspect that it is not possible for theologically well informed Orthodox Christians to become Catholics unless they lose their ability to make sense of the facts in front of them, or believe falsities and lies.

    Of course, some people give up their faith for non-theological reasons, but that’s another story.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Very well said, Fr.  As for myself, I only know of one Greek Orthodox laywoman who converted to Catholicism but that was several years ago and I have lost touch with her.

    • Good point. I have met very few Orthodox who have converted to papism for theological reasons, and those that did usually had some ulterior motive (i.e. some kind of anti-parental contrarianism).

      Another thing I have noticed is that, while plenty of monophysites (so-called ‘Oriental Orthodox’) and Nestorians (Assyrians) convert to Orthodoxy, I have never met a single Orthodox Christian who has become either.

  5. Well here are a few thoughts from me here in Thessaloniki
    Firstly it’s a profoundly beautiful city. Very modern, fashionable and full of history on every street.
    There is the white Tower on Sea front and the various garden around it.
    The arch of Galerius, who reigned with Diocletion. Some stunning churches whose opulence are in stark contrast to the Poverty of most of the churches in Bulgaria. When i think of the interior of our local parish church back in Bulgaria, one blackened enterior hiding the frescos in soot. Indeed even after last decade Greece is much more rich than Bulgaria.
    St Dmitri basilica is very beautiful and tasteful and not commercial. The liturgy, well attended ( did not receive Communion) was beautifully celebrated. Some excellent, moving, byzantine chant. And good sermon.
    The Church is in a much better state than I thought, looking at it over all and speaking with family and friends. That is not to say all is good etc There is work to be done but from a reality base .
    Re current events. The truth is that people come to church tired and seeking peace and do not want politics thrust at them. The current events go over their heads. I am not commending or being critical but just stating facts. Of course this is what Phanar is banking on.
    Now if Phanar moved to next stage of union with Rome, then I do not think this would go unchallenged.

    There is also some anti – Slav, especially anti -bulgarian sentiment. This was very strong in Greek history, dislike of the Bulgarians.And the Exarchate, not forgotten.
    They also claim some convert Russian state force against Greek church in Korea. This was told me by a child psychiatrist who is closely connected to church and whose relative was the ‘Apostle to Zaire ‘ in Africa. and who works with families and adolescents within church teaching and tradition. He has written in liaison with the psychiatrist priest , Fr Metalianos, many books.

    Just to add war with Turkey is taken here as a looming threat. There was held a full military exercise in the Aegean. After the Tsipras yrs the new government has a grip.

    • Lol, The Greeks still going around saying Korea is their canonical territory? 

      • Gus,  well if by Greeks u mean Phanar, Yes. If by Greeks u mean church of Greece,No.  The Church of Greece has no churches outside of Greece unlike other  patriarchates. Metaxakis handed them over to Phanar in 19222/3.  In many ways the 1850 concordat between Phanar and Greece gave the Church of Greece autocephalous status on par with NEW Ukrainian pretend body. Extending with so called post Balkan war, new territories.  It is just that until bartholomaios the reality was not  ‘called in for payment’.  He is trying to extend this semi -papal situation, AND SOME, to entire Church. Elpidophoros is even further forward.  As to elpidophoros and fr Ephraim funeral. Read nothing into his kneeling, EXCEPT GOOD PHOTO OPP. 

  6. Christopher McAvoy says

    Dear Mr. Michalopulos, I have the utmost respect for your writings, I take pleasure in perusing your latest thoughts. In this instance, when you mention dogma(s), I would disagree that it is plural but believe to be quite accurate that it is a singular dogma. The paramount fundamental disagreement and difference between the Latin Rite Communion (Catholic) and the Byzantine Rite Communion (Orthodox) of Churches regards their governance. The fundamental difference regards the their understanding of ecclesiology. The singular dogmatic disagreement which I am aware of is Papal Infallibility. The other matters of disagreement which regard doctrine, canons, liturgical rubrics, philosophical emphasis, dress, music and architecture are important but not insurmountable when looked at individually. Indeed the other differences are difficult when taken as a whole picture of a local church culture, but they are not so far as I know dogmatic.

    Perhaps your focus is that there has not been a conversion of the Church of Rome toward the Orthodoxy it once held, that is to say for it to reject the dogma of Papal Infallbility and in addition, provide attempts to correctly harmonize it’s long standing divergences of non dogmatic but contradictory (inappropriate/erroneous) nature. Therefore I wholeheartedly agree that what is occurring is a false union which will cause the worst possible effect for all. May God’s mercy be on those who promote schism.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Mr McAvoy, first of all, I am deeply honored by your encomia towards me.  Actually humbled.  As to the arguments which you proffer, I am in essential agreement.

      Having said that, because of what you write, I am more than ever committed to stopping the neo-papalism that is being put forth by Lambrianakis (the current GOA primate).  Indeed, you have painted a very vivid picture of what will transpire should he accede to the Cpolitan throne and enforce his ecclesiology. 

      It would be nothing short of a disaster; the very body of the Church would be horribly disfigured beyond recognition.  The various divergences which you posit between West and East would be amplified within the Eastern Churches.  And, as you  pointed out, though these divergences are “not insurmountable” in and of themselves, they make real unity next-to-impossible.

      Again, I thank you for this very insightful comment and I assure you that despite my own insignificance, sins, defects and deficits, I will do whatever it takes to make sure that this monstrous new doctrine will never take root in the Eastern Church.  

    • Michael Bauman says

      Mr. McAvoy, it is not just Papal Infallibility which was not codified until 1870, but the office of the papacy itself.  Just one of the titles: Vicar of Christ is indicative of the broader nature of the ecclesiological problem, but the RCC soteriology is also a big dogmatic difference. 
      Since these  eccelsial and soteriological differences are also Christological in content they cannot be reduced to simple Papal Infallibility.  
      The actual gulf between Rome and The Orthodox communion is much worst than you posit. The repentance/forgiveness  necessary to heal that chasm is virtually inconceivable to me.  The dogmatic differences touch every aspect of Church life and practice.  

      • George Michalopulos says

        I knew something was amiss about 20 years ago when in his annual messages “to the Plenitude of the Faithful” were being sent out every Christmas. That’s papalese.

        • George.  U right.  Bart started early as with his papal style uk visit in 1993, to the ‘ Cypriot peasants in the fish and chip archdiocese of Thyateira ‘,  with a papal style rally.  It went down like a bucket of sick with the Greek Cypriots.  I recall the endless adds for the Alexander Palace north London event,  almost hourly on London Greek radio. 

      • Tim R. Mortiss says

        I think Michael Bauman is quite right. The gulf is great. I wouldn’t put it all on the original language of the Creed– the Pope will see you on that and raise you!
        I’ve seen texts of the Creed in Protestant and Catholic sources that bracket the Filioque. They don’t need it anymore…

    • As Vladimir Lossky said: “…whether we like it or not, the question of the procession of the Holy Spirit has been the sole dogmatic grounds of the separation of East and West”.
      Lossky, Vladimir (2003) [1974]. “The procession of the Holy Spirit in Orthodox Trinitarian theology”
      I would add that there was a Filioque dispute before there was one of Papal infallibility.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        And as I understand it, the Nicean Creed is considered dogma so the Filioque dispute is significant. With regard to heresy, there is all that teaching about the immaculate conception, purgatory, dispensations, divorce & remarriage, celibate priests, something close to penal substitution with respect to atonement (not sure what that’s called; this is just my characterization of it which is probably considerably off), etc. and of course primacy being first without equal.

        BTW, you all know George didn’t write that piece, right? It came in from one of the readers of the blog.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Gail, thank you for keeping me humble.  I misunderstood Mr McAvoy’s commendation.  I thought he was speaking generally and/or addressing the specific comment which I had made.  I certainly don’t want to take credit for something I didn’t write.

          La Sheppard is correct:  One of our favorite contributors wrote the essay in question.   Thank you my dear for correcting the record. 

          • And the last, but not the least, there is a strange doctrine that the Grace of God is a part of His Creation.

      • Monk James Silver says

        Brendan (December 19, 2019 at 9:15 am)says:

        As Vladimir Lossky said: “…whether we like it or not, the question of the procession of the Holy Spirit has been the sole dogmatic grounds of the separation of East and West”.Lossky, Vladimir (2003) [1974]. “The procession of the Holy Spirit in Orthodox Trinitarian theology”I would add that there was a Filioque dispute before there was one of Papal infallibility.

        Lossky was simplistic and imprecise here.   He might better have written that ‘disagreements in theologizing the procession of the Holy Spirit have been the major triadological reason for the separation of East and West’.
        As you noticed, there are other dogmatic differences between  Rome and Orthodox Christianity, some of them older than others.

        • Indeed, Monk James. However, Lossky also said: “When we speak of the Trinity in itself, we are confessing, in our poor and always defective human language…[etc]”.
          So, he never claimed to give the last word on the subject.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Monk  James, I’m going with Brendan (and Lossky) on this one.  Lossky’s verbiage may be inelegant and perhaps too direct but I think he got right to the point.

            • Monk James Silver says

              It’s taking quite a leap to say that ‘the question of the procession of the Holy Spirit has been the SOLE dogmatic grounds of the separation of East and West’ as Lossky did. (My emphasis.)

              How can you justify that position, dear George, considering all the other heresies there are differentiating Orthodoxy from Catholicism?

              • Monk James Silver: “It’s taking quite a leap to say that ‘the question of the procession of the Holy Spirit has been the SOLE dogmatic grounds of the separation of East and West’”

                Well, this was the issue chosen by Rome, to break from the East. They did so, and added other deviations later.

              • I think Monk James Silver  has a good point.

              • Archpriest Alexander F.C. Webster says

                Since folks here are “choosing sides” on V. Lossky’s contention, I’ll state publicly, Monk James, that I side with you here. The filioque is the paramount heresy of the Roman Catholic communion.

                But the papalism finally proclaimed officially in the Pastor aeternus document at the First Vatican Council in AD 1870 (which my students in Comparative Theology at Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville read and were amazed at the ridiculous biblical exegesis and laughable unhistorical claims therein)–that is, the doctrines of unique papal infallibility ex cathedra and universal jurisdiction of the entire Church around the world–runs a close second to the filioque as an insurmountable heresy. 

                • Yes, but would they have tried on the infallibility if they had not first got away (in the West, that is) with th Filioque?

                  • Michael Bauman says

                    I would say that infallibility has a close logical connection to the distortions created by the Filioque but it can also stand alone as the “first without equal” contention of the current EP attests.

                    One should not ignore the radical deterioration of civil government in the west as contributory to the unique position of the Pope in the RCC, their isolation geographically, linguistically and culturally also factors in. Each one of those has been used to try to say that there is really no difference theologically–it is just an historical anomaly.

                    I still think it is a bit reductionist to concentrate solely on the Filioquehowever. One also needs to address the numerous pastoral and praxis distortions that seem to stem from the Filioque

                    Still, it is always easy to go the other direction in saying that the Filioquedoes not really mean that much.

                    • If the Filioque doesn’t really matter, would that not mean Sts Photios and Mark Eugenikos were schismatics at best ?

                    • Tim R. Mortiss says

                      The Filioque matters, of course, it just doesn’t matter as much as it did, because the issues faced by the Church have dramatically changed.
                      It’s sort of like Arianism. That heresy, like a lot of the ‘big’ heresies, is impossible in the modern world. It could exist when every human being believed in God or gods, and the spirit world. So the nature of Christ could be an issue. One could argue about a ‘demiurge’, created before all other creation, etc. etc. But a modern wouldn’t even see the problem; if  you believe in God, then you go ‘all the way’, you don’t waste time speculating about demiurges. If you can believe, you believe it all. But that presupposes the modern world, where most, or at least a great many, do not believe at all.
                      So with the Filioque. The big problem for modern Christianity is not the theology of the procession of the Holy Spirit– it is outright apostacy, atheism, or a soggy agnosticism that amounts to the same thing, both within the church as well as without.
                      If a Roman Catholic at Mass recites the Creed in full faith and belief, even with the Filioque, then he believes in the trinitarian God, the Incarnation, the Resurrection, the Ascension, the Final Judgment, etc. Not so bad for starters these days.
                      The battle about the Filioque itself is close to over, albeit quietly. Pope John Paul II regularly recited the Creed publicly without it.  Other issues are taking precedence.

                    • Tim R. Mortiss: “The Filioque matters, of course, it just doesn’t matter as much as it did, because the issues faced by the Church have dramatically changed. It’s sort of like Arianism.”

                      Interesting approach. Yet, there might be another issue.
                      I wonder, how much the subtle  consequences of F. are embedded in RC mindset. Same as with the erroneous claim that the Grace of God is created, this has number of consequences too.

                    • Gus: ‘That heresy [Arianism], like a lot of the ‘big’ heresies,
                      is impossible in the modern world. ‘
                      The Jehovah’s Witnesses are Arians.

                    • Tim R. Mortiss says

                      “Jehovah’s Witnesses are Arians”. Well, perhaps so. Shouldn’t have said ‘impossible’, I suppose.
                      But then they don’t rule Germany, Hispania, and North Africa. Or anywhere else.
                      Milton seemingly was an Arian, too.
                      Milton was an Arian.

                    • “Milton was an Arian.”
                      So was Isaac Newton.

                  • The reason why we even need to have this conversation that only one or two heresies divide us is precisely because of the success of the ecumenist heresy.  It’s called incrementalism, erase the concerns the Fathers had by pushing the envelope and keep spewing the nonsense that schism is worse than heresy. What church Father ever fathomed the possibility that schismatics can be dogmatically sound but the heretics are the “real” deal Body of Christ???. You push the envelope to the brink and then backstep  one degree and everyone thinks ecumenism has been defeated and off to the Unia we go.
                    The Fathers dealt with erroneous Latin fasting rules, with azyme in their communion, with baptism by sprinkling, with purgatory, with their erroneous emergency baptisms by all, with annulments. Since then they have made chrismation optional, added mariological innovations and thru incrementalism none of that matters anymore.. Their flock in Latin America are full of heretical pagan syncretism to boot. With the way we are going with our minimalism and modernisms we will get rid of  our iconostasis,, dit exorcism prayers for baptism, get rid of antidoron because they are not dogma. Etc

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      Gus, I like the word you used: incrementalism.

                    • Tim R. Mortiss says

                      You are no doubt right in many ways, but when my children and grandchildren, and yours, are told to cast incense on the flame in front of the statue of the Emperor, then they are going to need all of the Christian allies they can get when they refuse.
                      We are already there. People are losing not just their jobs but their careers by going against the new imperatives of this society. I want all the institutional support we can get.
                      When the 20+ Coptic Christians went to their deaths on the shore by having their throats cut by ISIS, or whatever Islamic sect, a few years ago in Egypt, refusing to repudiate Christ, did we dismiss them because they were ‘non-Chalcedonians’. No, we didn’t.

                    • Brendan, please remember there was reproachment in the Photian schism without Photios demanding removal of the Philioque. Also, there was no demand that the west begin to use leavened bread or change their form of baptism and communion was restored. So if you wish to identify Photios as schismatic or even a heretic, according to your standards of orthodoxy, you are correct.

                    • Jk: “…please remember there was reproachment in the Photian schism without Photios demanding removal of the Philioque.”
                      Photios did not regard the Filioque as reason for separation from Rome as the Filioque was not sung in the Mass in Rome until 1014, long after Photios was dead.
                      Nevertheless, Photios stated (proved) that the Filioque is heresy.
                      Jk: “…if you wish to identify Photios as schismatic or even a heretic, according to your standards of orthodoxy, you are correct.”
                      I am Orthodox. Are you? I regard the Filioque as heresy.
                      Do you?

                    • Joe Zopilas says

                      And yet the Crimean was was the Crusade Against the Photius Heresy. Consider that the eastern church came up through Damascus wile the western through Carthage. Contantine got them to agree to disagree on leavening, celibacy, original sin and so on until the pope said that since St Irene was a woman, the throne was vacant and Charlemagne could have it to promote the Goth Filioque. Instead of looking at 1054 and 2014 as subsequent schisms, try the alternative that the eastern and western churches cycle in and out of friendship every two hundred years. Confirming this, Francis of Assisi became venerated in Greece once the Ottoman occupation was completed and Greeks fled west. Curiously, as during the 1983 and 2009 bankruptcies they did NOT flee to Russia.

                • The scenario that played out in Rome over time is eerily similar to what what we are reaping our in own time in the ‘Orthodox’ world.  Allow seemingly insignificant errors to pass without definitive rebuke, and over time they take on a life and apparent authority of their own.

                  • Brian,
                    ” Allow seemingly insignificant errors to pass without definitive rebuke,…”.
                    Exactly, that’s the idea:
                    One little step at a time.  Nobody notices it, nobody cares, if you say something about it they call you ultraconservative.
                    BUT, the sum of these little steps over time has a significant result.

                    A couple of examples:

                    St. Paul, in his epistles, calls ALL the people saints or holy: 
                    This word is now gradually exclusively used to address fellow Bishops only! Intimidation of the laity.

                    St. Paul, in his epistles, calls ALL the people brothers.
                    This word is now gradually exclusively used to address fellow clergy only.  A young priest calls a old man kinda “my child” (Typical Papal). He ignores the words of St. Paul to Bishop Timothy,
                    “Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; [and] the younger men as brethren;The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters (1 Tim.5,1)

                    In a nutshell:
                    It’s all the sum of very small steps.

                  • Brian, EXACTLY! I won’t stop calling them out including not immersing babies, either because they are too big to fit fully in a font or because priest is afraid to immerse fully. Again incrementally rid the externals under the guise that they are not dogmatic. Soon we will have sprinkling for baptism (already happened at my friends daughter baptism), beards getting shorter and shorter on bishops, fasting gets shortened, confession not emphasized, no longer teach that communion is limited to prepared Orthodox Christian’s only (where did that happen already? GOA Chicago that where). Soon under the mantra that “it’s not dogmatic” we may as well not add domes to churches, who cares if they face east,  we dont need iconostasis let’s make them look more like western churches and let’s ordain women like the Anglican /orthodox dialoguing ecumenists tell us.

                    • Michael Bauman says

                      Ordain especially lesbian women of course.
                      Mark Levin said on his radio show yesterday that “tyrants use freedom to destroy freedom”

  7. Well put  Christopher. 

  8. Ok  Our EP wants to enjoin himself with someone who actually thinks he can start the apocalypse?  Which one is the crazier/more hubris/deranged/possessed/any other descriptors one wishes to use?
    I read this prophecy in graduate school as Malachy was a character in my Master’s thesis, but did not actually think anything would come of it.  That was then; this is now…

  9. On the 6th August 2000, “Dominus Iesus “(English: The Lord Jesus), a declaration by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (known as the “Holy Office”), was approved in a Plenary meeting of the Congregation and signed by its then Prefect, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI, and of its then Secretary, Archbishop Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone, later Cardinal Secretary of State. The declaration was approved by Pope John Paul II and was published on August 6, 2000.
    In Section1, the document states that: “The fundamental contents of the profession of the Christian faith are expressed thus: “I believe in one God, the Father, Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen. I believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation, he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father. With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified. He has spoken through the prophets. I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come”.
    There is no Filioque…none.
    So there we have it then: Two modern Popes admit that the Orthodox have been right all along.
    I wonder if Bartholomew also agrees…

  10. Michael Bauman says

    Brenden, downplaying the Filioque is what the EP seems to be doing to arrive at the “no essential differences” doublespeak.

  11. Christopher McAvoy says

    With the faith, hope and charity of Christ, all is possible. With the guile, cynicism, and betrayal of the devil, nothing is possible. 🙂  Having spent time in the most traditional communities of both the E. Orthodox and the R. Catholic Communities (latin massers/sspxers/old calendarists etc), I do not see the divisions as so profound as some do. I have heard what sounds to be honest preaching/teaching founded on patristic concensus in both camps, despite longstanding disagreements.
    I have also heard of clerics who do not know if the other communions sacramental grace is existing and various concerns of heresy which are warranted… I recognize there are longstanding disagreements, longstanding arrogance, but the definition of Papal Infallibility I see as the most destructive difference. The papal infallibility was defined as dogma in a neo-conciliar fashion as far as I know. The creed never had such an organized movement of dogmatic distinction /rejection, and in fact had a history of being rejected by Rome before the 9th-11th century, therefore it can not be something that the faith hinges upon even now, the filioque is in some sense optional, Papal Infallibility and arrogance are not optional.

  12. Here is a quote from the ‘Catholic Encyclopedia‘:
    “Filioque is a theological formula of great dogmatic and historical importance. On the one hand, it expresses the Procession of the Holy Ghost from both Father and Son as one Principle; on the other, it was the occasion of the Greek schism. Both aspects of the expression need further explanation.
    Dogmatic meaning of filioque
    The dogma of the double Procession of the Holy Ghost from Father and Son as one Principle is directly opposed to the error that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father, not from the Son…”
    Is this quotation in error? Yes it is.
    Does this error matter? Yes it does.

  13. Michael Bauman says

    Just keep in mind that the area where a number of the Protestant sects and denominations arose was originally missionized by Arians.

    Heresy is a disease from which we all suffer. The cure does not lie in hunting down heretics and forcing THEM to repent (crazy idea). The cure is multi-pronged: 1. quarantine, i.e., not allowing unrepentant heretics to approach the cup; 2. our own repentance; 3. guarding our own hearts against the disease(s).

    In order to accomplish any of those things we have to understand the nature of particular heresies so that we can begin to guard our own hearts against them. Heresy is always an affront to the divine unity, the divine particularity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one God) and His actual and complete incarnation, i.e, denying that Jesus Christ is FULLY God and FULLY man.

    Before healing can begin, however, it is needful to recognize the disease itself: its etiology, its pathology and its symptoms.

    The Arian catch phrase, “There was a time when the son was not”, is a start but only a start. The over all effect of Arianism is a complete denial of the Incarnation and therefore our salvation in any meaningful way. It is both one of the oldest heresies and one of the most pervasive.

    It is self-defeating to label Protestants as Arians. They are not pure Arians but the Arian influence is there, but it is also in the RCC and with the modernists still within the Orthodox Church.

    There is a clear link between Arian Christology and Deism because Arian thought is fundamentally dualistic. The Orthodox Church condemns all forms of theological dualism when we proclaim Jesus Christ as fully God and fully man of one essence with the Father without change or confusion.

    Our small human minds and hardened hearts find such a paradoxical statement logically insurmountable and we tend to resolve the paradox in ways we can understand. Those attempts do not work and always lead to heresy in some form or other.

    It is not hard to find Arian influence in the doctrine of PSA, etc., etc, etc. and many other theological errors of the west, but also in the east.

    But again the key is that we do not allow such ideology (it cannot properly be called theology) to invade and corrupt our own hearts which pointing to problems exclusively as “elsewhere” always allows, IMO.

    We must become good epidemiologists to guard our own hearts against the infectious disease that is heretical thought and to protect others. The cure is well known: repent.

    Each of us is infected with multiple heresies ancient and modern. So let us be firm and unyielding but also gentle and persistent.

    Christ is Born!
    “The Virgin cometh today to the cave to give birth,
    ineffably to bring forth the Word Eternal.
    Therefore, rejoice, O earth at the message,
    with the angels and shepherds give glory to him,
    Who shall appear by his own will as a young child,
    He who is from eternity God.”
    – Kontakion for Advent

    • Michael I have always considered most protestants as arians in the way they talk about God and Christ and in their prayer life it’s obvious. With Catholics not so obviously present, as in theory they should be cosher!  Excuse the metaphor!! 

  14. Michael Bauman says

    Nikos, and yet there is an Orthodox saint, St. Nikta, the Demon Slayer, who was an Arian in real life, but he and his king went into battle against a pagan invader who specifically wanted to wipe out the “Christian” kingdom. St. Nikta was captured in battle and refused his freedom rather than deny Christ. He was executed. The ‘Demon Slayer’ title has always seemed to me emblematic of the power of Jesus name to vanquish all demons and all heretical belief no matter what. “At the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow.”

    God is great. Glorify Him!

  15. Lenny Varipas says

    What about these Cats (Catsimatidis Podcasts):