Montag, 18. Januar 2010

response to Apologist117, II

This entry will discuss Apologist117's second video response to my essays on orthodoxy.

my comments will be in black
Apologist117's statements in red
quotations from other sources in blue

Apologist117 claims that canon 28 of the Council of Chalcedon was accepted by the Catholic Church:

"Following in every way the decrees of the holy fathers and recognising the canon which has recently been read out--the canon of the 150 most devout bishops who assembled in the time of the great Theodosius of pious memory, then emperor, in imperial Constantinople, new Rome -- we issue the same decree and resolution concerning the prerogatives of the most holy church of the same Constantinople, new Rome. The fathers rightly accorded prerogatives to the see of older Rome, since that is an imperial city; and moved by the same purpose the 150 most devout bishops apportioned equal prerogatives to the most holy see of new Rome, reasonably judging that the city which is honoured by the imperial power and senate and enjoying privileges equalling older imperial Rome, should also be elevated to her level in ecclesiastical affairs and take second place after her. The metropolitans of the dioceses of Pontus, Asia and Thrace, but only these, as well as the bishops of these dioceses who work among non-Greeks, are to be ordained by the aforesaid most holy see of the most holy church in Constantinople. That is, each metropolitan of the aforesaid dioceses along with the bishops of the province ordain the bishops of the province, as has been declared in the divine canons; but the metropolitans of the aforesaid dioceses, as has been said, are to be ordained by the archbishop of Constantinople, once agreement has been reached by vote in the usual way and has been reported to him."

Rome's primacy is not based on a theological premise, but on a political situation. Roman primacy is not "de jure divino". The Councils conferred upon Rome her privileges.

with regards to the claims against the de jure divino character of the Papacy:

"Since then, beloved, we see such a protection Divinely granted to us (the Pope), reasonably and justly do we rejoice in the merits and dignity of our founder, rendering thanks to the eternal King, our Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ, for having given so great a power to him (Peter) whom He made Chief of the whole Church, that if anything, even in our time, be rightly done and rightly ordered by us (the Pope), it is to be ascribed to his working, to his guidance, unto who it was said, 'And thou, when thou art converted, confirm thy brethren'' ....To him, therefore, let us ascribe this anniversary day of us his servant, and this festival, by whose patronage we have been thought worthy to share his Seat itself, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ sustaining us in all things, Who liveth and reigneth with God the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever. Amen." (Pope St. Leo the Great, Sermon 4 Gaudeo, dilectissimi)

"For the government of the Apostolic See (Rome), engaged without ceasing in the care of the whole flock of the Lord, which care was delegated to the blessed Peter by the voice of our Savior Himself, 'And thou, converted, confirm thy brethren,' we (the Pope) neither can nor ought to dissemble such things as constrain our solicitude." (Pope St. Gelasius, Epist. v. ad. Honorium Dalmat. Episc.)

With regards to the claim that the primacy of the Roman Church is rooted in Rome's being an "imperial city", I would address the readers to the videos of Theologica37 on youtube who has already refuted Apologist117's false claims.

His videos regarding Apologist117 (I highly recomment watching all three):

Apologist117 claims that canon 28 was kept by the Patriarch of Constantinople thus rendering the ratification of canons by the Roman Pontiff in order for these to be valid and universally binding null and void. We are confronted with the following problem:

What then makes a Council ecumenical?

Eastern Orthodox theologians have two common answers (there is no unity as to what really IS the answer in the East): receptionism and pentarchial ratification.

If Apologist117 wishes to side with receptionism theory, which teaches that the decrees of a Council must be accepted by all the faithful before it can be considered ecumenical and thus universally binding, then he is forced to admit that canon 28 is to be rendered null and void since the Westeern portion of the Church did not accept it. Furthermore, there are enough Easterners who rejected this canon as well: thus following the rightful authority of the head of the Church, the Pope (more to this later).

If, however, Apologist117 wishes to side with pentarchial ratification, which teaches that a council that is ratified and accepted by all 5 patriarchs of the Church is to be considered ecumenical and thus universally binding, then his position with regards to canon 28 still fails since the "Western Patriarch", the Roman Pontiff, rejected this particular canon.

Either way, Apologist117 cannot claim any validity to canon 28: it is - as the Pope has already taught in the past - to be rejected.

The Council itself clearly identified the Pope as the visible head of the Catholic Church:

You are set as an interpreter to all of the voice of blessed Peter, and to all you impart the blessings of that Faith. -- Chalcedon to Pope Leo, Ep 98

For if where two or three are gathered together in His name He has said that there He is in the midst of them, must He not have been much more particularly present with 520 priests, who preferred the spread of knowledge concerning Him ...Of whom you were Chief, as Head to the members, showing your good will. -- Chalcedon to Pope Leo (Repletum est Gaudio), November 451

Besides all this, he (Dioscorus) extended his fury even against him who had been charged with the custody of the vine by the Savior. We refer to Your Holiness. -- Chalcedon to Pope Leo, Ep 98

You have often extended your Apostolic radiance even to the Church of Constantinople. -- Chalcedon to Pope Leo, Ep 98

Knowing that every success of the children rebounds to the parents, we therefore beg you to honor our decision by your assent, and as we have yielded agreement to the Head in noble things, so may the Head also fulfill what is fitting for the children. -- Chalcedon to Pope Leo, Ep 98

Especially the last quotation sounds odd when it comes to Apologist117's idea that "Rome is subject to Councils".

Let us refer to the Greek historian Socrates (I am quoting from my essays on Orthodoxy - portions which Apologist117 seemed to have ignored and which I have already stated cannot be reconciled with the schismatic ideas of Eastern Orthodoxy) who charged Arianizing bishops with "the violation of the canons, neglecting to request his attendance at a Council, seeing thast, by ecclesiastical law, no decisions of churches are valid unless sanctioned by the Bishop of Rome."

Indeed Rome is bound to the faith as much as any Catholic is. However, the authority which grants a Council its ecumenical character flows from Rome. Thus, we cannot say that a Council stands above Rome - so as to claim that Rome may be forced to accept what is against its definitive teachings by any Synod not enjoying its sanction.

Let us continue with canon 28. Pope St. Leo the Great ( a Saint greatly venerated also in the East ) said the following on the issue:

"Resolutions of bishops which are repugnant to the holy canons defined at Nicaea...we rescind and utterly annul by the authority of the blessed Apostle Peter, since in all ecclesiatical questions we defer to those laws which the Holy Ghost laid down through the three hundred and eighteen prelates, with a view to their peaceable observance by all bishops." (Epistle 105 to the Empress Pulcheria)

Patriarch Anatolius of Constantinople - after hearing of the Pope's decision - wrote an apology to Pope St. Leo the Great:

"As for those things which the universal Council of Chalcedon recently ordained in favor of the church of Constantinople, let Your Holiness be sure that there was no fault in me, who from my youth have always loved peace and quiet, keeping myself in humility. It was the most reverend clergy of the church of Constantinople who were eager about it, and they were equally supported by the most reverend priests of those parts, who agreed about it. Even so, the whole force of confirmation of the acts was reserved for the authority of Your Blessedness. Therefore, let Your Holiness know for certain that I did nothing to further the matter, knowing always that I held myself bound to avoid the lusts of pride and covetousness." -- Patriarch Anatolius of Constantinople to Pope Leo, Ep 132 (on the subject of canon 28 of Chalcedon).

Did Apologist117 not claim that the Constantinopolitan Patriarch enforced canon 28? He admits here that the canon relies upon the ratification of the Pope.

So, the matter was settled; and, for the next 6 centuries, all Eastern churches speak of only 27 canons of Chalcedon -- the 28th Canon being rendered null and void by Rome's "line item veto." This is supported by all the Greek historians, such as Theodore the Lector (writing in 551 AD), John Skolastikas (writing in 550 AD), Dionysius Exegius (also around 550 AD); and by Roman Popes like Pope St. Gelasius (c. 495) and Pope Symmachus (c. 500) -- all of whom speak of only 27 Canons of Chalcedon.

To add more to the repudiation of Apologist117's false ideas, one ought to be reminded that papal supremacy need not even be right for Apologist117 to be wrong. He - as often pointed out by Theologica37 - clearly departed from the very tradition of his Church in order to make any case against the Papacy. He basically has promoted a canon to the level of universal validity whilst contradicting the two most common theories regarding the ecumenicity of Councils to be found in Eastern Orthodoxy.

Let us continue with yet another claim:

Canon 28 was accepted in the 2nd Council of Lyons (a.D. 1274)

II Lyons was the first of two Councils to effect a temporary reunion between the East and the West. We must remember that both unions lead to the East accepting the doctrinal teachings of the West as being truly orthodox.

I found nowhere in the Constitutions of II Lyons any evidence for the claim that canon 28 was ratified by the Pope. What one can find however is the following:

1. On the supreme Trinity and the catholic faith{5}

1. We profess faithfully and devotedly that the holy Spirit proceeds eternally from the Father and the Son, not as from two principles, but as from one principle; not by two spirations, but by one single spiration. This the holy Roman church, mother and mistress of all the faithful, has till now professed, preached and taught; this she firmly holds, preaches, professes and teaches; this is the unchangeable and true belief of the orthodox fathers and doctors, Latin and Greek alike. But because some, on account of ignorance of the said indisputable truth, have fallen into various errors, we, wishing to close the way to such errors, with the approval of the sacred council, condemn and reprove all who presume to deny that the holy Spirit proceeds eternally from the Father and the Son, or rashly to assert that the holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son as from two principles and not as from one.

The Council brought about a mutual understanding on the doctrine of the Filioque (which is also contained int he Athanasian Creed that was not disputed by any orthodox Christian prior to the ramblings of Eastern polemicists).

Apologist117 then procceds by claiming that St. Meletius and St. John Chrysostom both were not in communion with Rome. This topic, I have already addressed in my first response to Apologist117's video series. One might consider the following implications of such a claim for Apologist117 though:

1) One must remember the claims of Apologist117 which include the idea that St. Cyprian was right in his rejection of the Pope's teaching with regards to "heretical baptism", i.e. the validity of baptism conferred by Non-Catholics. Thus, Apologist117 claims that only the Orthodox have the power of validly conferring any sacrament. The problem here is the fact that St. Meletius was ordained by Arians and this fact gives rise to problems not for Catholics, but for the Eastern Orthodox. I have already stated in my essays that the stubborn anti-Catholic position will inevitably lead to one that is absurd when seen as a whole.

2) Apologist117's argumentation also seems to rely upon the presupposition that the Church can be "visibly one"/"united" whilst the Pentarchial Sees are not even in communion with each other. But to be within the Church means to be in communion with the orthodox believers(in terms of belonging, not of any disciplinary measure such as excommunication placing a sinner outside the possibility of communicating). How can one then justify a claim that endorses an ecclesiology in which the members claimings to be of the same Church are not even in communion with each other? It makes even less sense when one understands the Church as being a Eucharistic Union - a teaching that we find in the epistle of St. Paul, the Apostle, to the Corinthians. Apologist117 in this case sounds more like a protestant, an Anglican, than as an Orthodox Christian. This perhaps is caused by his usage of mainly Anglican and other protestant sources.

"The Pope was neither invited, nor informed of the 2nd Ecumenical Council held in 381 a.D."

I have addressed this issue already in my first response.

When speaking of the Fathers of I Constantinople, Apologist117 stated: "they did not believe in the modern heresy of Papal Supremacy".

He forgets that what he condemns as "modern heresy" is a) not "modern", nor is it b) a "heresy". The examples cited in my two essays should suffice - eventhough they are but a small portion of the evidence available. Furthermore, if Apologist117 wishes to portray himself as someone faithful to the tradition of the living Church, then I hope we agree that the first Ecumenical Councils were held in response to heresies which were to be formally identified as such and universally condemned. With that in mind, I ask myself which Ecumenical Council has ever declared the doctrine of the Papacy to be a heresy? Who is he or any Eastern perlate to define what is universally bindung upon the people of God? Is this not actually a claim similar to infalliblity and supremacy? In fact, Eastern Orthodoxy is suffering from "arrested development", while the Catholic Church has continuously convoked Ecumenical Councils.

"The 7th Ecumenical Council was de facto presided over by Patriarch Tarasius of Constantinople. It did not ask for papal confirmation."

"The convocation of the council was announced to Pope Hadrian I (772-795) in a letter of Constantine VI and Irene, dated 29 August 784. They urged him either to attend in person or to send legates. Patriarch Tarasius sent the same message in synodal letters to the pope and the three eastern patriarchs. Pope Hadrian I gave his approval for the convocation of the council, stipulating various conditions, and sent as his legates the archpriest Peter and Peter, abbot of the Greek monastery of St Sabas in Rome."

Contrary to what Apologist117 postulates, the Roman Pontiff indeed was informed of the convocation of the Council which enjoyed his approval.

St. Nicephorus, Patriarch of Constantinople (758-828) in his Great Apology:

"This Synod [the 7th Ecumenical Council which condemned the Iconoclasts in 787] possesses the highest fact, it was held in the most legitimate and regular fashion conceivable, because according to the divine rules established from the beginning it was directed and presided over by the glorious portion of the Western Church, I mean by the church of Ancient Rome. Without them [the Romans], no dogma is discussed in the Church, even sanctioned in preliminary fashion by the canons and ecclesiastical usages, can be considered to be approved or abrogated, for they are the ones, in fact, who have been endowed in order to fulfill the function of guide in the priesthood and we have given them the credit due to those among the Apostles and the Coryphaei [SS. Peter and Paul]." (James Likoudis, The Divine Primacy of the Bishop of Rome and Modern Eastern Orthodoxy, Letters to a Greek Orthodox on the Unity of the Church, pp. 117)

Let us consider the background story to II Nicaea:

A recommendation to summon an ecumenical council, in order to correct the iconoclast heretics, had been addressed to Empress Irene, then acting as regent for her son Emperor Constantine VI (780-797) who was still a minor, both by Patriarch Paul IV of Constantinople (who had repented of his earlier iconoclast views) before his abdication from the see in 784 and by his successor as patriarch, Tarasius. The aim was to unite the church and to condemn the decrees passed by the council of 338 bishops held at Hiereia and St Mary of Blachernae in 754.

The Pope was already informed about the synod of Hiereia beforehand. St. Theodore of Studium wrote the following to Pope Leo III:

"Since it is to great Peter that Christ our God gave the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven and entrusted the dignity of the chief of the flock, it is to Peter, that is to say, his successor, that one ought to submit every innovation which is made in the Catholic Church by those who would turn aside from the truth. That is what we humble and lowly monks have learnt from the ancient Fathers...I borrow now the cry of the Coryphaeus of the Apostles, calling Christ to his succour whent he waves of the sea were risen up, and I say to your Blessedness who art the Representative of Christ, 'O First 'Shepherd of the Church which is under heaven', save us now, we perish. Imitate the Christ, your Master, stretch out your hand to your Church as He stretched out His hand to Peter. Peter began to sink in the waves, while our Church is still once more submerged in the depths of heresy. Emulate, we beg you, the great Pope whose name you bear [Pope St. Leo the Great], and just as he on the appearance of the Eutychian heresy, stood erect spirituallyas a lion with his dogmatic letters, so in your turn (I dare say it because of your name) roar divinely, or rather send forth your thunders against the present heresy. For, if they, usurping an authority which does not belong to them, have dared to convene an heretical Council [that of Hieria with 338 bishops]. While those who following ancient custom, have not even the right of convoking an orthodox one without your knowledge, it seems absolutely necessary, we dare say it to you, that your divine Primacy should call together a lawful Council, so that the Catholic dogma may drive away heresy and neither your Primacy may be anathematized with all the orthodox by these new voices without authority, nor that wills evilly disposed may find in this adulterous Council an excuse for being involved in sin. It is in order to obey your divine authority as Chief Pastor that we have set forth these things as it befitted our nothingness, we the lest members of the Curch. (James Likoudis, The Divine Primacy of the Bishop of Rome and Modern Eastern Orthodoxy, Letters to a Greek Orthodox on the Unity of the Church, pp. 115-116)

St. Theodore the Studite notes that the Pope is the supreme Pastor of the Church, that this rank is by divine institution, i.e. de jure divino, and that it is the Pope's prerogative to grant Councils their validity.

And here a letter of St. Theodore of Studium to Emperor Michael:

"I witness now before God and men, they have torn themselves away from the Body of Christ, from the Surpreme See (Rome), in which Christ placed the keys of the Faith, against which the gates of hell (I mean the mouth of heretics) have not prevailed, and never will until the Consummation, according to the promise of Him Who cannot lie. Let the blessed and Apostolic Paschal (Pope St. Paschal I) rejoice therefore, for he has fulfilled the work of Peter." (Theodore Bk. II. Ep. 63).

To him then, the idea that Rome would "fall into heresy" and that the papacy itself would defect was unimaginable since Rome being the fountain of ecclesiastical unity was granted first and above all others the promise of indefectibility. We here have an example of tradition that is rejected by modern Eastern Orthodoxy through the postulation of an ecclesiology in which the Petrine See no longer is orthodox. How one can justify this heretical innovation is beyond my understanding.

Apologist117 continues his video by pointing to the Council of Constantinple held in 754 a.D. and stating that this Council was held without the participation of the Pope - either by himself or through legates. I am not sure what Apologist117 was planning to demonstrate here. This Council is not considered to have any authority, it is a Conciliabulum, an irregular and heretical Council, thus without any validity nor authority. Perhaps he (Apologist117) did not realize that this example does not at all speak against the Papacy.

Ending his video, he points to the Council of Frankfurt convoked and presided over by Charlemagne. I find it very difficult to see how this could serve as any argument against the Papacy. First it was wrong since it defied the canoncs of the 7th Ecumenical Council. Apologist117 concludes from Charlemagne's behaviour that Papal Primacy thus must be wrong since Charlemagne cared not about the 7th Ecumenical Council. But would not the same be true with regards to all orthodox Catholic prelates? Further we could even say that Charlemagne cared little about the authority of an Ecumenical Council. Considering this, it would be foolish to use his conciliabulim at Frankfurt as somewhat an example of "Christian orthodoxy against the false claims of the Papal Supremacy". With that said, I simply reject this "argument".

Already after the first two responses, I would like to remind those seeking the truth to not forget to examine the "overall picture" presented by either party. We cannot but notice Apologist117's arguments falling apart for a couple reasons: his arguments borrowed mainly from protestants are incompatible with Eastern Orthodox theology, he either diminishes or totally ignores evidence pointing to a clear primacy of the Roman Pontiff, he makes false claims, and last but not least: the overall picture does not work at all.

It also seems to me that Apologist117 may be implying in some of his videos that the fact that Councils were convoked by Emperors or that other prelates other than the papal legates presided over Councils have to be viewed as arguments against the divine prerogatives of the Bishop of Rome.

Fr. Adrian Fortescue explained the matter at hand:

"What it comes to in practice is this: the Bishop of Rome is the right person to take the lead in any common action of the whole Church; particularly it is his right to summon a general council, to preside at it, either himself or by his legate, and to confirm its decisions. But this does not mean that he has always done each of these things. To say that a man has a right does not mean that he has always used his right. There have been council, afterward recognized by as ecumenical, that were not summoned by the Pope. Our point of view, in this case, is that the Pope should have been summoned, if the council were intended to be ecumenical; but then the Pope accepted what had happened and by so doing made up all irregularity in the summons." (Adrian Fortescue, fourth edition edited by Alcuin Reid, "The Early Papacy to the Synod of Chalcedon in 451", pp 40-41)

Thus, though the Pope has the right to convoke, preside over and confirm Ecumenical Councils, he is not required to always make use of the first two rights. A Council lacking his ratification, however, cannot be considered ecumenical at all.

Here I end my second response.

God bless and peace to all.

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