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  • Dcn Joseph Suaiden 12:48 am on September 24, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

    Are Orthodox Traditionalists like Roman Catholic Sedevacantists? (From a Facebok post) 

    I’m going to have to give a hearty “no” on this one, and for my disagreement with some of the views of Abp Chrysostomos of Etna of blessed memory, in his opinion on this matter, he was spot on.

    In Orthodoxy, the fullness of Apostolic succession could be found in the Bishop. But the fullness of Apostolic unity (and therefore the sense of the Church) could be found in councils. For this reason, the requirement that if there is no larger Synod that can be found, three (or at least two) Bishops are required to create a Bishop is found in the holy canons. That is all that is required to restore a sense of ecclesiastical normalcy in a local Church. Everything can rebuild from there. This can of course lead to ecclesiastical wrangling and chaos between warring factions over who is legitimate (and has) but the faith remains preserved, and from a 2,000 year timeline, this is minor squabbling to be handled by a future, more responsible generation.

    Such is not the case in Roman Catholic traditionalist groups. The Pope is not only the full and supreme head of the body, but he also supplies jurisdiction to the Bishops (both alien concepts which begin with the Hildebrandian “reform”). So in short, traditionalists “at war with the Pope” are stuck in a sort of legal conundrum: their own religion denies them the right to exist in a state of separation from the Pope, which leads either to some level of distant obedience (the SSPX) or to the need to elect another Pope (SSPV, sedes, conclavists). 

    Put simply, the Roman Church cannot function without a Pope. The Orthodox Catholic Church has never had that problem.

     
  • Dcn Joseph Suaiden 5:19 pm on September 1, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

    A Post for the Recently Departed from Orthodoxy to Papism 

    st-mark-of-ephesus-9

    …Saint Mark of Ephesus addressing the Pope

    A couple of days ago I was sent an article written on a blog of Papist college students by a young man named Gideon Lazar who departed from Orthodoxy for Roman Catholicism. This was a “tipping point” for me, after a month or two of seeing stuff by another fellow named Timothy Flanders being promoted from our Facebook forum to Youtube for his departure from Orthodoxy to Papism (He has not answered my requests to debate). Because I’ve been asked to write a response, I will respond to Gideon since he is a recent convert. What I will not do is a point-by-point refutation, since many of the points, as Orthodox readers of the articles have correctly adduced, are just false and foolish. It’s my hope that the young man, a fairly recent convert, reconsider his piece, and also reconsider his departure from the faith.

    Before I begin, however, let me say that Gideon’s departure is a result of ecumenism. Due to a lack of exactness of teaching in terms of where the Church was (the ultimate doctrinal goal of ecumenism) Gideon failed to see leaving Orthodoxy as what it was– apostasy– and found himself in the “loving embrace” of Rome. This is where ecumenism will lead you– once you deny the oneness of the True Faith, you’re already halfway out the door.

    I’ve read the essay. Gideon begins by noting he’s posting it at the same time he’s to be received, akin to a suicide letter being discovered next to the body– forgive the comparison, but fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell.) Again, I have no intention of being exhaustive because a lot of arguments in these ecumenical journeys that end up in Rome are emotional. I’m appealing to the Fathers and common sense.

    Let’s begin.

    The Fatima Mess

    “The view that Fatima is simply a hoax cannot be the case. It has a miracle connected with it that was witnessed by thousands of people, many of whom were atheists who came to the event specifically to refute what the children were saying. Skeptics have argued that it was simply a mass hallucination, but Christians should be skeptical of this argument. Skeptics of the resurrection of Jesus often respond to the fact that there were 500 witnesses by pointing to Fatima. If Fatima was a mass hallucination, so could the resurrection of Jesus have been.”

    In the first place, I’d be glad to admit to Fatima not being a “hoax” in the sense that SOMETHING occurred; we just disagree on what. I have no doubt it was a demonic apparition meant to deceive thousands of people (we find in the history of the saints of the Orthodox Church visual delusions caused by demons which stir up the people to inflict pain among the saints). Fatima can easily fall under this category.

    What doesn’t fall under this category is a dead man coming back after three days being dead, hanging out with His disciples for a month and a half, and then ascending into heaven. If that’s not obvious, it should be. The resurrection of Christ was such a shocking and confusing event precisely because no one expected it to occur. It countered our very understanding of life and death.

    By contrast, a demon giving a “sign” (after being untested) while claiming to be the Theotokos of the sun dancing– an optical illusion cannot be reproduced? Humans can create optical illusions, but demons can’t?

    What follows is a very poor argument: “The other objection to Fatima is that it is demonic. However, the vision doesn’t sound like Satan at all. Would Satan command people to pray 53 Hail Marys and 6 Our Fathers, both fully Orthodox prayers, every single day?”

    Does anyone doubt that Protestants say the Our Father? Yet this doesn’t make them the Church. The fact that the demons help confirm people in their error means they are just doing their job. Is Fatima bringing people to the Church– or to a false church? The answer is obvious.

    Finally he finishes: “I did find one way to stay Orthodox after discovering this. Fatima was true and Orthodoxy is true. After all, the message of Fatima seems entirely Orthodox…At this point this is such a stretch that it’s just easier to draw the obvious conclusion, if Fatima is true then Catholicism is true.”

    I would argue that at this point to the young man in question: you were already halfway out the door. Now you’re completely out. I will however, make a note on what the priest you cited wrote. If Father Andrew Phillips of ROCOR is an apparent secret believer in “the Third secret of Fatima,” one of the stupidest conjectures of modern Roman Catholicism, then in his 60’s I will flatly say he’s lost his mind. It’s that simple. And my dear readers can tell him I said that. Take your meds, Father. You’re making sons of hell here.

    The Terrible “Missionary Work” and Uniatism Argument

    Unlike Protestants and Roman Catholics, Orthodox have 2,000 years of history to work with and therefore can view the question of “preaching the Gospel to all nations” in terms of ebbs and flows. Gideon’s argument is essentially a “ok for me, but not for thee” argument common among heretics, whether he realizes it or not. He writes: “he other major event that triggered my shift towards Catholicism was reading about the history of Catholic missionary work. In Orthodoxy, there are a few saints that are famous for missions: Sts. Cyril and Methodius (who were before the schism), St. Nicholas of Japan, and St. Herman of Alaska. In fact, if you discuss missionary work with anyone who is Orthodox, they will probably bring up St. Herman of Alaska. There is a reason he is brought up again, and again, and again. He is essentially the only successful Orthodox missionary since the schism.”

    Let us first note a problem with this argument: geography. All missionary work that has been done among Roman Catholics since the schism has largely been through territorial conquest by Papist countries (and we’re really talking about South America here, as success in Africa and Asia is not only limited, but developing between both Orthodox and Papists.) Before the rampages of Islam, Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy were roughly equal in size. A few centuries later, Roman Catholicism could claim its “stamp” on countries that were under its monarchs’ dominions and in fact have concordats to preserve the status quo (for example, in the Philippines, divorce follows largely Roman Catholic laws for a secular legal standard. In another example, a former priest of ours who wanted to do a Western Rite service in Peru was actually given a notice from the Papist Bishop’s office in Lima that he was free to celebrate missionary services– in Greek.) So this fantasy of a rich missionary dimension to Roman Catholicism is a bit of a sham. Further, all those gains have been reversing since the Second Vatican Council. It’s a dirty little secret which, if you haven’t discovered yet, you will.

    Now if you want to talk about Orthodoxy and Roman Catholic missionary work, consider the life of St Peter the Aleut, a young Orthodox Christian who got tortured to death for not joining the Papists. Let’s be real here– for myself as someone who is part Peruvian, we all know the story of how the last Inca Emperor of any force was put to death for “blasphemy” because he didn’t know what a book was and bit into a Bible. Grand “missionary work” there.

    Ironically, Gideon doesn’t realize the above also colors his next argument: “It’s also notable that there are large numbers of Eastern Catholics, but very few Western Rite Orthodox.”

    That is because Western Rite Orthodox exist by choice, not by force. The Unia were political schemes to make peace with Papist rulers. There was no mass movement to join Rome among the Orthodox of those areas: it was forced. Their “hieromartyr” Josaphat Kuntsevich was famous for physically interrupting Orthodox services and injuring people. It’s why a mob ended up killing him; the political union had countless opponents, and the new convert’s zeal as an enemy of the Church horrified many. The closest you get to a willing union (among the hierarchs, never among the people) is the Melkite schism of 1724, but even that took decades of Franciscan “charity” to train the youth of the upper classes and eventually cause most of them to sign a false union. And even then, the people resisted and an Orthodox hierarchy returned.

    By contrast, Western Rite Orthodoxy, despite distrust and opposition, has always been a voluntary movement. Those of us Orthodox who pray using the Western Rite are Orthodox first, ritual second (there may be some exceptions but they’ll return to Rome or Orthodoxy on their own.) We are not Western-Rite Uniates: we are precisely the opposite.

    Finally, Gideon splats on St Alexis of Wilkes-Barre. He can justify his mistreatment at the hands of John Ireland all he wants, and can minimize the systemic mistreatment of Uniates in this country (until Vatican II they were often “rechrismated” at confirmation ceremonies and were commonly treated as “sorta”-Catholics), but the reality is that literally thousands of people joined St Alexis and returned to Orthodoxy under the omophor of St Tikhon. Papists like to treat St Alexis as some random disgruntled priest, but disgruntled randoms don’t convert thousands. The follow up with the PNCC sect is irrelevant, to be honest, but should give Gideon pause: even committed Papists were willing to break off to be a sect of Papists. And this was in the pre-Vatican II “glory days!”

    “Saint” Francis

    Gideon shocks absolutely no one by pointing out that Orthodox of time immemorial accuse “Saint” Francis of prelest. The reason for this is because Francis of Assisi was in prelest. Nothing further there needs to be said.

    Sacramental Theology

    Apparently Gideon has a problem with the variety of uses that have been maintained to receive people into Orthodoxy from heresy for 2,000 years. The oversimplification of the 1938 creation of ACROD glosses over the fact that the parishes had rejected the Unia for a year and were already confessing Orthodoxy and their leader was made a Bishop. While I’m not defending ACROD here, to say that they were all received in “by a telegram” is incredibly misleading and unfair to the history of their people.

    Why do people read Soloviev anyway?

    Because Gideon cites Soloviev more than once, I’ll add a quick note. I’m always dumbfounded by the number of people who read Soloviev like he was a great Russian thinker. He was basically a huge ecumenist who was into a lot of weird movements and died a pauper (and a Papist). But because Uniates want to claim some sort of “link” to Russia they trot out Soloviev. Honestly– I haven’t read the man’s stuff in 20 years. The only reason I even really knew his name as more than a footnote is because when I went to Uniate Churches, they talked about Soloviev like he was the Tsar-Martyr and St Seraphim wrapped into one.

    The guy wrote poetry. Seriously. His big contribution to Russian society is poetry.

    Finally, the Solution to all of the Problems: The Papacy!

    So after we get all the emotionalism and bad argumentation out of the way, we’re left with a solution no one needs to a problem no one has: The Papacy. Obviously despite the fact that for the past 1,000 years, a disunited, confused Orthodoxy has somehow managed to preserve and spread the faith without change (maybe because Christ somehow heads the Church Himself) our young writer has realized the solution we needed all along was the Pope. Let’s reread Matthew 16:18, everyone! The Pope is the rock! (I’m literally not going to answer one of a dozen arguments for the Papacy. I did it for years. So did lots of other people for decades and centuries before any Orthodox apologists were even on the internets.)

    For a piece written by an obviously intelligent young man, this essay finally fails and dies here– because it has to. Every Roman Catholic argument for the Papacy is essentially a sales pitch for “unity”. As someone who worked for many years in sales, the pitch is kind of obvious, though to someone who is new to the faith, they may not realize they were sold a line.

    To Gideon: none of the argumentative points you have made are actually valid, and unsurprisingly the essay ends with a sort of “come on folks, let’s go” which is part of the charm of youth. Young man, you go to a Papist university. You’ve seen large, impressive Uniate churches. “Exploring new things.” I was a college student too. I get it. But if I seem dismissive of the arguments, it’s because they’re not real. And the biggest proof of it is that despite the Councils of Lyons and Florence, despite the Unia, despite forced conversions in Orthodox territories… Orthodoxy is still here. It’s why Pope Eugene, almost convinced of the success of the Council of Florence and hearing that St Mark of Ephesus refused to sign, astutely concluded: “we have achieved nothing.”

    The greatest argument for Orthodoxy is ironically Her disunity: it is why we pray to “heal the schisms of the Churches” in the prayer book. Hopefully soon you realize that what you’re doing is the same thing Papal apologists have done for centuries and failed, that the myth of disunity being a “problem” in Orthodoxy is as invented a problem… as the Papacy is a solution.

    I don’t expect this essay to bring you back to Orthodoxy. That’s what the Holy Spirit’s for. But I do hope you return to your senses. Take care.

     

     
    • dg 2:58 am on September 16, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      You have smartly avoided touching on all the theological arguments in the articles. Also: 1.demons are utterly powerless, unless God explicitly allows them to attack human beings with an illusion or an oppression. This is evident in the book of Job. Demonic deceptions always have something about them that shows they’re demonic, just like true apparitions carry something with them that shows they are valid. It’s not enough for you to say “this is a demonic apparitions because I believe it to be so”, or “demons could create an illusion”. You have to show the aspects of the apparition that point to the demonic. The apparition talked about hell to people who did not believe in hell, and about God to people who didn’t believe in God. There was no reason for a demon to produce something so great to make people go from a path of damnation, from another path of damnation – and to expose himself, since he can better accomplish his plan if people don’t believe that he exists. No, Fatima and Orthodoxy (i.e. the Schismatics have something in common, the common enemy of religious relativism and of communism, both of which destroyed the faith in Orthodox (i.e. Schismatic) lands for the great part of the XX century.

      2. St. Francis was not a crazy visionary. Many Schismatics try to say that he is, because otherwise they would have to grant that Rome more Orthodox than them. St. Francis never encouraged visions, or other supernatural signs in his life. He lived a life of penance, humility and rejection. The supernatural things that he experienced caused him great humiliation among the faithful: people accused him of being a madman, a magician, a liar. He was rejected by the whole of society, And in the midst of these horrors he stayed faithful, humble and forgave his persecutors. He kept living the Beatitudes, serving the poorest of the poor, and praising God as a Job, as the poorest of the poor. Only at the end of his life things turned around, and people started following him. His rule was so strict in terms of penance and fasting and serving the poorest of the poor, that the Franciscan orders never manage to keep up with it, Franciscan orders always relax their rules, and new orders are formed to live the rule of to st. Francis radically.

      3. The reason why Schismatics attack, calumny Orthodox Catholics with falsehoods and insults, is that they are wrong – and know that they are wrong. They are like Satan – they are accusers. The only way to keep up the appearance that they are the true religion is to spread animosity and hatred toward Rome and Orthodox Catholic Saints. Roman Orthodox Catholics on the other end, do not need to insult Schismatics to demonstrate that Catholic Orthodoxy is the true religion. We do not attack your saints, your bishops, your monks and priests. We do not spread lies about having false martyrs that were killed by you. We believe that, because you have true sacraments, some of you may enter heaven DESPITE being Schismatics, if you are in good faith.

      But if you are lying knowingly about the faith, woe to you. Anathema to you. You will be judged for scandalizing the faithful to feed your hungry pride, like Lucifer did – and with him, under his sovereignty, you will lie, tortured and humiliated for all eternity.

      Think about it now. Unlike what the Schismatics say, as Christ said in the Gospels, once in hell, you cannot be saved.

      • DcnJosephSuaiden 6:35 pm on October 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Dear “dg”,

        It’s a good thing that I felt compelled to write another article, or I would have missed this! I have to change my settings. I will attempt to answer clearly to what you are saying, argument by argument. So here’s #1.

        “You have smartly avoided touching on all the theological arguments in the articles. Also: 1.demons are utterly powerless, unless God explicitly allows them to attack human beings with an illusion or an oppression. This is evident in the book of Job. Demonic deceptions always have something about them that shows they’re demonic, just like true apparitions carry something with them that shows they are valid.”

        In the first place, I did my best to address every major point Gideon made. That said, your argument is absolutely ridiculous according to the lives of the saints. Demons don’t have a “tick” like in the movies so the secular heroes can avoid or stop them: the only way to know whether or not a demon is a demon is to request a blessing in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Why? Because demons can’t bless in the name of God. But they can do everything else! If we analyze Fatima, we can clearly see nothing of the sort was done. The demons harassed and tortured every saint of the Church, and here you are telling me it’s as easy to deal with them as roach bait. Don’t be so easily fooled!

        “It’s not enough for you to say “this is a demonic apparitions because I believe it to be so”, or “demons could create an illusion”. You have to show the aspects of the apparition that point to the demonic.”

        It confirms heresy, so I am pretty confident it’s demonic.

        “The apparition talked about hell to people who did not believe in hell, and about God to people who didn’t believe in God.”

        Hmm… that doesn’t pass the smell test. As I remember, Portugal was (and is) one of the most Papist countries in the world, so I’d be more inclined to believe that it was misleading people. Because that’s what demons love to do.

        “There was no reason for a demon to produce something so great to make people go from a path of damnation, from another path of damnation – and to expose himself, since he can better accomplish his plan if people don’t believe that he exists.”

        Demons can’t have more than one evil plan? So they’re as stupid as cockroaches and one-dimensional as comic book villains.

        “No, Fatima and Orthodoxy (i.e. the Schismatics have something in common, the common enemy of religious relativism and of communism, both of which destroyed the faith in Orthodox (i.e. Schismatic) lands for the great part of the XX century.”

        Communism finished what Hildebrand started. Now there are no formally Orthodox lands left on earth, but there are Orthodox throughout the world.

      • DcnJosephSuaiden 7:32 pm on October 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        2. St. Francis was not a crazy visionary. Many Schismatics try to say that he is, because otherwise they would have to grant that Rome more Orthodox than them. St. Francis never encouraged visions, or other supernatural signs in his life.

        Hmm. Let’s test this theory. In the first place, Francis’ first religious experience was apparently being talked to by Christ as Mass in Assisi. Francis’ religious life began with the belief that God told him to “fix my falling house” (San Damiano). He receives the stigmata through a vision. Shoot, even the Pope has a dream in Francis’ story. He preached to birds. You sure about what you’re saying here? Veronica Leuken he isn’t, but let’s not kid ourselves.

        “He lived a life of penance, humility and rejection.”

        He flagellated himself.

        “The supernatural things that he experienced caused him great humiliation among the faithful: people accused him of being a madman, a magician, a liar.”

        Literally no one did this. Even when they were discussing rejection of Francis’ fulfilled desire to have an order at Rome, it was only because he was too poor.

        “He was rejected by the whole of society, And in the midst of these horrors he stayed faithful, humble and forgave his persecutors.”

        What persecutors? He literally tried to go into Islamic lands to preach and only managed to do so once. For this, he was granted rights to the Holy Places by the Sultan. This is utter malarkey.

        “He kept living the Beatitudes, serving the poorest of the poor,”

        The Beatitudes literally say nothing about serving the poor.

        “and praising God as a Job, as the poorest of the poor.”

        Very creative lyricism, except outside the fact that he begged in society, most of the entire story you’ve concocted is completely false.

        “Only at the end of his life things turned around, and people started following him.”

        He literally started the Franciscan order at 27, less than five years after his return from war. He died at 37.

        “His rule was so strict in terms of penance and fasting and serving the poorest of the poor, that the Franciscan orders never manage to keep up with it, Franciscan orders always relax their rules, and new orders are formed to live the rule of to st. Francis radically.”

        I’m fully aware of the history of the Franciscans. But here’s something else fun about the Franciscans: they mistreated Native populations everywhere they went. I guess they were only meek and humble in Italy.

        So we continue.

      • DcnJosephSuaiden 7:40 pm on October 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        3. The reason why Schismatics attack, calumny Orthodox Catholics with falsehoods and insults, is that they are wrong – and know that they are wrong. They are like Satan – they are accusers.

        You are not an Orthodox Catholic. You are a follower of the Papacy. Your religion was invented in 1075 with the Dictatus Papae and destroyed Orthodox Catholicism in the West.

        The only way to keep up the appearance that they are the true religion is to spread animosity and hatred toward Rome and Orthodox Catholic Saints.

        Well, I was a Roman Catholic, and I understood the dictum well: extra ecclesiam nulla salus. Your argument presupposes you are the Church: but if you are not, your words can be thrown right back against you. And I don’t believe you are part of the Church.

        Roman Orthodox Catholics on the other end, do not need to insult Schismatics to demonstrate that Catholic Orthodoxy is the true religion. We do not attack your saints, your bishops, your monks and priests. We do not spread lies about having false martyrs that were killed by you.

        But we do have real martyrs that were killed by you. Why, St. Peter the Aleut was killed by… a Franciscan! Isn’t that something?

        We believe that, because you have true sacraments, some of you may enter heaven DESPITE being Schismatics, if you are in good faith.

        In this you insult the teaching of the Church Fathers, including St Cyprian and St Augustine, who believed no such thing.

        But if you are lying knowingly about the faith, woe to you. Anathema to you. You will be judged for scandalizing the faithful to feed your hungry pride, like Lucifer did – and with him, under his sovereignty, you will lie, tortured and humiliated for all eternity.

        If.

        Think about it now. Unlike what the Schismatics say, as Christ said in the Gospels, once in hell, you cannot be saved.

        In this you have condemned yourself!

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