Friday, March 11, 2011

Ratzinger on the “real evil in the dispute between the east and west”

Doing some research for some future postings on the topic of “Apostolic Succession,” I came across this little gem from Ratzinger’s work, “God’s Word: Scripture-Tradition-Office”:

“The concealing of the old theological idea of the sedes apostolica, which was after all from the outset a part of the Church’s understanding of herself [NOT!], by the idea of the five patriarchates must be regarded as the real evil in the dispute between East and West, an evil that also had its effect upon the West, inasmuch as—despite the retention of the concept of the sedes apostolic—a largely administrative and patriarchal concept of the importance of the Roman See developed that could hardly help any outsider to have a clear grasp of the real essence of the Roman claim, as distinct from any other claims”(pg 35).

So, not only was the concept of the “five Patriarchates” a real evil in itself for challenging Roman claims—it caused Rome to exaggerate its own claims, making it hard for any outsider to have a clear grasp of the real essence of the Roman claim.

I have recently noted the avoidance of responsibility for one’s actions as just simply a juvenile, adolescent trait. This of course is only one trait that is typical of the ongoing Roman mindset.

21 comments:

Kim said...

Hey John, I'm all for speaking the truth, but in love. I'm not even Catholic, but that first paragraph referring to the Pope as "Joseph 'foot-in-mouth' Ratzinger" offended me. You're above that, aren't you?

John Bugay said...

Kim, I've just cited a number of his gaffes (which get dismissed) that another one seems to be indicative of a pattern.

Contrast that with this: in a Michael Horton review of a recent Scott Hahn book on Ratzinger, Horton said:

Long before his election as pope, Benedict XVI brought his wide-ranging gifts to bear in this field in a Christ-centered exposition. Even when one disagrees with some of his conclusions, Benedict's insights, as well as his engagement with critical scholarship, offer a wealth of reflection.

If I put my foot in my mouth, I certainly expect that someone would tell me about it. I didn't use that phrase to be insulting, but descriptive.

John Bugay said...

And Kim, I don't want to make light of your sensitivity here, but what really offends you more: my description? Or a major theologian like Ratzinger describing the Orthodox's time-honored understanding of the pentarchy as "the real evil" in the dispute between east and west?

I mean, there are loads of things that could be considered "the real evil" in this question. Starting with Satan? Pride? I'm sure you can think of a few.

Kim said...

John, I have no problem with you exposing any evil you see in Ratzinger's comments or actions. Truly, I appreciate your hard work. I just don't want to see your efforts sidetracked. And I think calling a pope names would sidetrack people from hearing what you're actually saying, that's all. It did me, anyway.

John Bugay said...

Kim, I've removed that phrase.

Kim said...

Thanks, John. You're a gem.

John Bugay said...

Thanks, John. You're a gem.

I'm a sinner saved by grace. As a former pastor used to say, now that I'm older, I'm a much better sinner, because I've got so much practice at it.

Kim said...

I'm a sinner saved by grace. As a former pastor used to say, now that I'm older, I'm a much better sinner, because I've got so much practice at it.

Ain't it the truth? We need His grace every single day, and we're more aware of it now than ever before.

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. Lamentations 3:22

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

"Or a major theologian like Ratzinger describing the Orthodox's time-honored understanding of the pentarchy as "the real evil" in the dispute between east and west?"

Despite this, what I'm hearing and reading is that ecumenical relations between the RCC and EOC are progressing. But for the life of me, I don't really see how the two Churches will be or can be in full communion with each other.

And fwiw, I don't see how a staunch EO like Perry Robinson can stomach having the pentarchy described as the *real evil* between the East and West Churches.

Word Verification: farth

John Bugay said...

And fwiw, I don't see how a staunch EO like Perry Robinson can stomach having the pentarchy described as the *real evil* between the East and West Churches.

Well, of course, the intention behind this was to be a bit provocative. I'm surprised that Lvka hasn't shown up on this thread to tell us that Protestantism is the real problem.

Kim said...

Despite this, what I'm hearing and reading is that ecumenical relations between the RCC and EOC are progressing. But for the life of me, I don't really see how the two Churches will be or can be in full communion with each other.

I think that's more to do with Patriarch Bartholomew than with the average Orthodox Christian. I didn't hear much positive said about Catholicism while I was in the Orthodox Church. In fact, one of my priests (also a monk) was very adamant that the OC was not likely to join with the CC. I don't think there are a lot of Orthodox who want to be under a pope, and that would have to be what they'd agree to unless a miracle happens and the Pope gives up the power of his office. But then it still might not be enough because the Orthodox as well as the Protestants don't trust Rome because of its past.

Viisaus said...

"I think that's more to do with Patriarch Bartholomew than with the average Orthodox Christian."


Already once back in the 15th century, when the bought or intimidated EO hierarchy was mostly ready for union with Rome (in the council of Florence), the resistance of grassroots EO masses torpedoed this attempt.

Worldly-minded EO prelates may well hobnob ecumenically with the pope, but traditionalist-minded EO laymen probably will not follow their example.

Mark of Ephesus, the archetypal EO purist militant who played a leading part in rejecting the Uniate compromise of Florence, wrote:

"It is impossible to recall peace without dissolving the cause of the schism— the primacy of the Pope exalting himself equal to God."

PeaceByJesus said...

Re the EO and RC, i am rather sure you have read this:

The Orthodox attitude to the Papacy is admirably expressed by a twelfth-century writer, Nicetas, Archbishop of Nicomedia:
My dearest brother, we do not deny to the Roman Church the primacy amongst the five sister Patriarchates; and we recognize her right to the most honourable seat at an Ecumenical Council. But she has separated herself from us by her own deeds, when through pride she assumed a monarchy which does not belong to her office . . . How shall we accept decrees from her that have been issued without consulting us and even without our knowledge? If the Roman Pontiff, seated on the lofty throne of his glory wishes to thunder at us and, so to speak, hurl his mandates at us from on high, and if he wishes to judge us and even to rule us and our Churches, not by taking counsel with us but at his own arbitrary pleasure, what kind of brotherhood, or even what kind of parenthood can this be? We should be the slaves, not the sons, of such a Church, and the Roman See would not be the pious mother of sons but a hard and imperious mistress of slaves.' — http://www.stpaulsirvine.org/html/TheGreatSchism.htm

And while they both hold to Tradition as being equal or the same as the Scriptures, they disagree:

Orthodox apologist and author Clark Carlton states: "The Orthodox Church opposes the Roman doctrines of universal papal jurisdiction, papal infallibility, purgatory, and the Immaculate Conception precisely because they are untraditional." Clark Carlton, THE WAY: What Every Protestant Should Know About the Orthodox Church, 1997, p 135.

The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America states: “The Orthodox Church does not believe in purgatory (a place of purging), that is, the inter-mediate state after death in which the souls of the saved (those who have not received temporal punishment for their sins) are purified of all taint preparatory to entering into Heaven, where every soul is perfect and fit to see God...The Church lived for fifteen hundred years without such a theory.” -http://www.goarch.org/ourfaith/ourfaith7076

For what it seems to hold to on purgatory, this may help: http://www.antiochian.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=598&Itemid=21

And here: http://www.lightshinesindarkness.com/purgatory_history_1.htm

Ikonophile said...

Despite this, what I'm hearing and reading is that ecumenical relations between the RCC and EOC are progressing. But for the life of me, I don't really see how the two Churches will be or can be in full communion with each other.

Progressing how? If you listened to Patriarch Bartholomew's Georgetown Speech some time ago, the relations that you see in the media may not be entirely accurate. This speech by the Patriarch stunned many Roman Catholics, particularly when he stated:

"Assuredly our problem is neither geographical nor one of personal alienation. Neither is it a problem of organizational structures, nor jurisdictional arrangements. Neither is it a problem of external submission,nor absorption of individuals and groups. It is something deeper and more substantive. The manner in
which we exist has become ontologically different. Unless our ontological transfiguration and
transformation toward one common model of life is achieved, not only in form but also in substance, unity and its accompanying realization become impossible. No one ignores the fact that the model for all of us is the person of the Theanthropos (God-Man) Jesus Christ. But which model? No one ignores the fact that the incorporation in Him is achieved within His body, the Church. But whose church?”

The Patriarch understands that there is something more here than just a political issue because Church government is not a matter of politics but of eccesiology which is derived from our understanding of the Trinity.

The Patriarch of Russia and the Pope are also on good terms, relationally, but that means very little in terms of coming together as one Body once again. I would hope that our Patriarchs would be on friendly terms with the Pope for without dialog vested in love there cannot be any hope of reunion.

I will also note that Catholics (or the Pope) seem to be very willing to make concessions whereas theologically the Orthodox do not seem to budge hardly at all. It might seem stubborn but it must be precisely that way if we are to be one Body again.

John

RPV said...

The picture of the bauble/trinket encrusted bible that Ratz is holding says it all.
It's all a show and a fraud.
Bob S.

John Bugay said...

Bob S -- so much fraud, so little investigative time...

Viisaus said...

Yes, that it's mere theatrics especially when we remember that Ratzinger personally has no real fearful respect for the contents of those Scriptures he is holding: he is a modernist higher critic. Not one of the most outrageous kind (for reasons of outward prudence if not else), but one of them none the less.

Lvka said...

All the sees were Apostolic, and three of them were Petrine, so I don't see what Ratzinger's problem is...

John Bugay said...

Well, Ratzinger has a problem, and he became the pope.

Lvka said...

Well, don't worry: all Catholics have the same problem, so it's OK..

PeaceByJesus said...

Now Mary is getting involved in the dispute: From
THE EASTERN ORTHODOX CATHOLIC CHURCH CORNER:
"The Primacy of Peter [honor versus supremacy] is not a stumbling block since the Pope of Rome is officially recognized as the Successor of Peter by the Eastern Orthodox Catholic Church. The only two issues that seem to be in the way are: Money and Control.
Money: Both sides are still bickering about the Roman property confiscated in Russia during the Soviet rule. Some of it eventually ended up in the hands of the Russian Orthodox Church and Rome wants it back;
and
Control: This issue relates to the aggressive Evangelization effort by the Roman Catholic Church in Russian territory. Why Evangelize in a land which has the foundations of the Catholic Church well in place? The Russian Orthodox Church does not need Rome's help to bring the lost sheep into the fold. There are enough non Christians throughout the world [4 thousand million] who do not even know Jesus. Why not focus on them and leave Russia alone?

What Rome had to do for Russia was spelled out by Our Lady of Fátima and it was not done in a timely basis and the condition of the world today is a direct result of that. So why the sudden interest in the souls of the Russians now?" — http://www.mgr.org/orthocorner.html

From the same: “We rejoice to see that, although the smoke of satan* is choking the Catholic Faith, the true servants of God within the Church are, in very subtle ways, upholding the Eternal Truths.”
------------------------------------------------------
*Vatican's chief exorcist Father Gabriele Amorth stated in his book published on 2010 that Devil is in the Vatican

Father Gabriele Amorth, 85, who has been the Vatican's chief exorcist for 25 years and says he has dealt with 70,000 cases of demonic possession, said that the consequences of satanic infiltration included power struggles at the Vatican as well as "cardinals who do not believe in Jesus, and bishops who are linked to the Demon".

He added: "When one speaks of 'the smoke of Satan' [a phrase coined by Pope Paul VI in 1972] in the holy rooms, it is all true – including these latest stories of violence and paedophilia." - http://www.mgr.org/darkvatican.html

Father José Antonio Fortea Cucurull, a Rome-based exorcist, said that Father Amorth had "gone well beyond the evidence" in claiming that Satan had infiltrated the Vatican corridors.

"Cardinals might be better or worse, but all have upright intentions and seek the glory of God," he said. Some Vatican officials were more pious than others, "but from there to affirm that some cardinals are members of satanic sects is an unacceptable distance." - http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article7056689.ece