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Over at the Register November 10, 2012

We are talking about the Immaculate Conception and the Eastern Churches.

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  • ED

    Mark… your Register articles never seem to get any comments here? Any thoughts?

    Are they too *boring* or too *religious* for your CAEI crowd? Just curious…

  • Marthe Lépine

    To ED: It could be that Mark’s readers, as I just did a few minutes ago, are posting their comments in the Register…
    If you are interested, here’s what I just posted:
    Posted by Marthe Lépine on Sunday, Nov 11, 2012 2:15 AM (EDT):
    May I be allowed a question to Pavel as well as Mark:
    My brother has recently received ordination in the Orthodox church from France. I had been wondering about apostolic succession, and if the Eucharist as consecrated during a mass my brother would celebrate would be valid and/or if I could receive it without problem? Of course the question is a little theoretical, since there is very little chance that I could ever afford to travel to France in order to see my brother again (after some 18 years of his becoming a French citizen), but I would still like to know more since after all he is my brother…
    Also thanks to Mark for bringing the subject up, as well as Elisa and Deacon Daniel for providing links, since I did nor really know where to find reliable information (I did not think that I could judge by myself if anything I found on the Internet was reliable). I have copied the links and intend to follow up.

    • In short, the eucharist is valid and you are unlikely to receive it without problem. The difficulty is qualifying to receive the eucharist under Orthodox rules. Visit an Orthodox church sometime and you are likely to be surprised at how few regular attendees of the service qualify under Orthodox rules. Don’t take it personally. If your brother were to be in the area and you were to receive from him, I do not believe that you would be in difficulty, though he would be if news got out over it.

      The attitude is to make continued separation of Orthodoxy and Catholicism bothersome and painful so that those affected by it (and I am one of them) do something to cure the condition. We should not be comfortable that 400M members of the Church consider us unfit for communion and a scandal and the Orthodox say that every Sunday. They’ve been saying it for centuries. We should listen, as they should when we point out their own scandalous behavior in innovating.

      Ultimately, every bishop on both sides should not go a month without some layman respectfully buttonholing them as to when they’re going to make the necessary deal to restore full communion. It is not a great thing to simply ask, what progress has been made and what is the laity’s personal responsibility in moving the process forward. Prayer never hurts, of course, but simply asking for regular status reports so the issue does not sink down the very long list of things to do is another thing the laity can do. But the greatest thing possible is to get to know the other side and to love them. When the two sides, as expressed by the bulk of their respective laities, view this continued separation as an annoying paperwork barrier that the hierarchy has been remiss in settling, I believe that the issues will be quickly resolved. But the laity does not do this and so we are 400M less Catholics in full communion with Rome and Orthodoxy is shy over a billion Orthodox itself. We need to express love for each other, something that requires no theological degree and no great budget.

      • You are incorrect in saying, “the attitude is to make continued separation of Orthodoxy and Catholicism bothersome and painful.” We do not offer Holy Communion to Roman Catholics (or catechumens, Jews, Muslims, Anglicans, etc) because the Orthodox Christian Church and the Roman Catholic Church are not in communion.

        I’m not certain what you mean by a deal, but the Orthodox Christian Church is by its very nature not very amenable to deals.

        • The Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church are in a state of impaired communion, something that is a bit different than a broken communion. A description from events in 2008 may clarify for those who don’t pay close attention:
          1) Pope and Patriarch entered the Bascilica side by side
          2) Patriarch kissed the altar together with the Pope.
          3) Patriarch and Pope sat on thrones at the altar throughout the Liturgy of the Word.
          4) Both Pope and Patriarch blessed the deaons deacon, one Latin and one Orthodox, who each proclaimed the Gospel; the Orthodox deacon in Greek, the Roman deacon in Latin.
          5) After the Gospel, the Roman Deacon presented the Gospel for the patriarch to kiss, the Orthodox deacon presented the Gospel for the Pope to kiss. Both Pope and Patriarch, each holding a Gospel Book, simultaneously blessed the faithful from their thrones.
          6) Patriarch gave a homily, Pope gave a homily.
          7) Pope and Patriarch together recited the Creed in Greek, without the Filioque.

          At this point, the Patriarch left the altar and took a seat of honor on a throne erected outside the altar where he remained until after communion, at which time, the dual thrones were replaced before the altar table and both hierarchs took their places.

          It is not exactly wrong, but it will tend to mislead by imprecision to merely state that “the Orthodox Christian Church and the Roman Catholic Church are not in communion”. Broken communion is like a divorce. Impaired communion is an estrangement. The Orthodox attitude in most things is not to make it easy to pretend that things are OK. An estrangement is not OK. Impaired communion is not OK. But it is also not appropriate to ignore and dismiss the very significant steps that the Ecumenical Patriarch has taken. We are not as far apart as we were even a decade ago. We should seek to support our respective hierarchs in the faithful and just efforts to restore what should never have been damaged.

          As for a deal, I mean that Orthodoxy define a workable precedence of honor concept that the Pope can accept and not run for the hills away from the theological implications when the Pope does, in fact, accept it. My understanding is that the term yet remains maddeningly ill defined.

  • Marthe Lépine

    Here’s more:
    Posted by Marthe Lépine on Sunday, Nov 11, 2012 2:30 AM (EDT):

    I have another question, but this time it is (almost) on the proper subject:
    I still remember being quite puzzled when, in my teens, I had been reading an otherwise excellent book on apologetics, that used a question and answer formula; the answer to one of the questions in the book still makes me feel uncomfortable (I was 16 then, and am now 79…) As far as I can recall, a reader had brought up the question of Mary possibly having had a regular married life and/or other children after the birth of Jesus. I have no problem with the Church teaching on the matter of the perpetual virginity of Mary, but what bothered me was that the reply seemed to imply that it was very wrong to even suggest that Mary could possibly have had a regular married life because it was expressing doubts about her purity and her sinlessness (or something similar). Of course the book had been written in 1942, but I felt that the reply suggested that married life itself, including relations between husband and wife, was impure and sinful and a lower form of living a Christian life. And it made me feel very uncomfortable, and it still does up to a point.
    Posted by Marthe Lépine on Sunday, Nov 11, 2012 2:32 AM (EDT):

    Oops… a typo: I am 70, not 79

    Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/mark-shea/the-immaculate-conception-what-about-the-eastern-orthodox-churches#ixzz2BtRX3PRF

  • J. H. M. Ortiz

    Seems to me in general that Catholic apologetics has sometimes tended to fall into error in asserting that certain facts, rightly held true *de fide* as essential Catholic doctrines, were necessary as facts. In reality, Our Lady COULD without sin have had other natural children by Joseph, it’s just that she in fact fittingly did not. Was it necessary for Christ to institute as many as seven sacraments? Necessary or not, it was fitting. Was it necessary for Our Lord to wash the disciples feet? Necessary or not, it was deeply beautiful and instructive. Doesn’t God’s love tend to go beyond the minimum necessary?

  • Marthe Lépine

    A heartfelt thank you to TMLutas and J.H.M.Ortiz for such thoughtful replies to my questions. And please pray for me, I need it right now (for other reasons).

  • ED


    You most definitely have my prayers… I also left a message/comment for you over at the Register.

    Hope it helps…

  • j. blum

    I’ve a different question for our host and Dark Lord, when you read the Fathers, I presume in English, do you read the versions one finds for free all over the web? Or are there better editions upon which you’ve lavished the vast fortune you make as an author? If the latter, any recommendations?