Excommunication, Nikos Kazantzakis, and Franky Schaeffer....oh my!
My dear friend Imran tried to add his comment to this posting (and the long series of truncated comments that followed) but apparently Haloscan took a dump and so he emailed it to me and asked me to post it. Since it brings up issues not really specifically related to the original post I thought I'd throw it up here and add a few comments of my own.
Sky [aka Seraphim]
Actually, when I was going through RCIA I was taught that there were unlimited sacraments and sacramentals. I remember our teacher saying, "Even a little flower is a sacrament." She also went on to say that she used birth control and that the duty of a Catholic is to inform their conscience, not to live by any written codes.
Although you say the Orthodox are not as condemning as other Churches, I know from history that the Orthodox have excommunicated, anathematized, and condemned as much as anybody else. All you have to do is look at the icons of pissed off guys holding their books attacking this or that heretic to see that they are not liberal in their approach to issues of faith.
Nikos Kazantzakis was excommunicated, and when I went to hear Frank Schaeffer speak he attacked Islam with a viciousness I had never seen in a Catholic or Protestant church.
If you read the documents of Vatican II you will see that the Catholic Church is far more liberal and open then the Orthodox, and not just on paper, but in the parish. I could tell you many stories that you would not believe, but I will just tell you one. One Christmas mass me and C were listening to the readings of the nativity stories. After church my wife asked the priest if he believed any of those stories. He said, "no". End of story, no explanation, he did not believe that any of those events had taken place. Most Catholic priests are educated at liberal seminaries that are spearheading the "biblical criticism" movement. They are VERY liberal, and often homosexual. Most of the Catholic priests we met would simply scratch their heads when they heard we were converts. They thought it strange at best, and dangerous at worst. I am comfortable saying that most Catholics (clergy and laity both) reject the theological and moral teachings of the Catholic Church. What makes them Catholic you might ask? It is a culture more than a religion. They have a general spirituality, yes, but not a religion (in the way most people think of religion). Of course there are exceptions and every once in a while you will meet a Catholic who believes many of the things taught by the Church. By the way, you and James take your faith WAY more seriously than any of the Orthodox I have met from Orthodox countries. They remind me more of Catholics I have known than of you guys.
the duty of a Catholic is to inform their conscience, not to live by any written codes
I really don't have much to say in regards to what the RCC teaches...its seems to me there is a great deal of dischord between what that church officially teaches and what is believed from parish to parish, pew to pew, priest to priest, and parishoner to parishoner. Remember that I "fell" into Orthodoxy attending a Jesuit College religious department headed and staffed to a large extent by Orthodox clergy. Strange.
All you have to do is look at the icons of pissed off guys holding their books attacking this or that heretic to see that they are not liberal in their approach to issues of faith.
Pissed off? Hmmmm...not something to be found lauded in any sense by Orthodox spirituality. Perhaps you might specify which icons, saints, and issues with which you are talking about? Of course, you have said correctly Imran that the Orthodox Church is not liberal when it comes to issues of faith, you'll get no disagreement from me on this one. However, the Church has NO OFFICIAL teaching about the salvation of those outside of the Church. On the contrary it is full of wonderful stories (we have many stories from which our community experiences the teachings of the Church) in which we see God OUTSIDE of the Church. In fact we have two very highly renowned saints who were absoutely NOT in the Orthodox Church!
We are not afraid of black and white issues however. For example: Jesus is the eternal word of God and is NOT created as the Arians suggested, and yet when faced with the question of whether to rebaptize Arians who returned to Orthodoxy the issue becomes very much grey. I hope you can see the differentiation here. As Seraphim has said, we believe we know where God IS, but we dare not say where he isn't. All of Orthodox spirituality and teaching which I have experienced would make such a proclamation (where God isn't) about as damned a scary thing as you can possibly say.
Nikos Kazantzakis was excommunicated, and when I went to hear Frank Schaeffer speak...
Why was Kazantzakis excommunicated? Do you know what happened in the process? In the Orthodox Church's perspective, excommunication is not a sort of "sacrament" per se as much as it is a recognition of something that has already taken place, in other words Nikos had already removed himself from the community of faith by his profession of a different faith. I do not know the details of his excommunication, but in all fairness if we wish to criticize the Church for doing so we ought to try and understand the reasonings for it. As for Franky Schaeffer...well I've told you before Imran he does not speak for the Church, he speaks for himself and it is important that we understand the difference.
you and James take your faith WAY more seriously than any of the Orthodox I have met from Orthodox countries.
How many have you met? How big of a brush do you feel comfortable painting with on this matter based upon your experiences?
I'm not sure I take my faith seriously at all. My patron would likely remind me (as he does whenever I read his epistle) that I'm generally full of fecal matter.
...offered by Dn. fdj, a sinner at 10:32 AM [+]