Dr. Gregory Papcok chimes in on Douthat/Martin debate over at Patheos

He makes some interesting points, basically saying both need to do better.  I especially liked this addition to the argument:

Doctrine isn’t a law. It isn’t ratified by mere legislative consensus and mediated by additional legislation.  Doctrine is, ultimately, an absolute truth claim of what it means to be a fully formed human person in a rightly ordered relationship with God.  Moreover, doctrine is a truth-claim tested in the crucible of thousands of years of revelation and human experience. It is true that at some point, doctrine must be defined, but that is largely after a particular truth claim has been tested over hundreds and sometimes thousands of years of prayer, debate, discernment and lived experience.  Because of the rigor of this process, a doctrine is as close to an authentic, absolute truth as we can probably discern this side of heaven.

As such, the doctrine of marital indissolubility isn’t, as Fr. Martin’s analogy appears to suggest,  a “law” that says “don’t get divorced and remarried.”  It is a claim that there is something about lifelong marital fidelity that is essential to our ability to fulfill our destiny both as human persons and children of God. 

Any pastoral practice that doesn’t acknowledge this is too wimpy to succeed at the job it allegedly sets out to do.  Any valid pastoral practice must more effectively enable the person to fulfill his human and divine potential.  At the very least, it can’t stand in the person’s way or obscure the path to human fulfillment and divinization.

That’s why Cardinal Kasper’s proposal, especially in light of his stated position that it isn’t appropriate to expect heroic virtue from the laity is the equivalent of damning lay people with the soft clericalism of low expectations.  Kasper’s proposal is not merely wrong because it contravenes the traditionalists’ obsession with the law.  It is frankly,  despicable, because it counsels the faithful to pursue a path that is in direct opposition to their spiritual and human fulfillment as authentic persons and children of God (Mt 19:7-8; Mk 10:7-9; or Mt 5:32).

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16 Responses to Dr. Gregory Papcok chimes in on Douthat/Martin debate over at Patheos

  1. William Tighe says:

    Please see this, which is relevant to the subject of this posting:

    http://wdtprs.com/blog/2014/11/wherein-benedict-xvi-is-now-channeling-his-inner-augustine/

    “In this volume he mentions, in his newly written forward, that he has rethought and changed him mind about a 1972 essay he had concerning Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried. Previously, he had not closed the door to this possibility. Now, he thinks he was wrong back then.

    This is a burning issue today, of course.

    And so the former Pope – how weird is that to write – is going to be implicated in the debate about Communion for the civilly remarried.”

      • Rev22:17 says:

        Professor Tighe,

        From the article to which you linked: Church watchers suggest the redacted essay should be seen as a warning by Benedict to his little-loved German rival in the Vatican, Cardinal Kasper, who has been liberally quoting the essay to justify a more liberal church teaching on remarriage.

        I’m not sure whether the author of the linked article is being sloppy or deliberately misrepresenting the situation in his reference to “more liberal teaching” in this sentence, but the wording seems far from accurate in any case. I am not aware of any instance in which Cardinal Kasper has advocated any deviation from present Catholic doctrine of the sacrament of marriage or the indissolubility or the marital bond, once a marriage is ratified and consummated.

        In the context of this discussion, it is significant that the churches of the Orthodox Communion uphold the same doctrine of the indissolubility of marriage articulated by the Catholic Church, but follow different procedures to allow those whose attempts at marriage end in civil divorce to ratify another marriage. As best I can tell, Cardinal Kasper has advocated only that the Catholic Church consider admitting the present practice of the Orthodox Communion — which would seem to be the most practicable path to reconciliation. People who claim that this is somehow “changing doctrine” obviously don’t understand the critical distinction between doctrine and discipline.

        If you don’t agree that this will be the most practicable path to dealing with the difference in practice as part of putting the Great Schism to rest, what alternative do you propose?

        >> 1. Requiring every member of the churches of the Orthodox Communion who is divorced and remarried to submit his or her first attempt at marriage to a tribunal process would overwhelm the tribunals set up to process the cases.

        >> 2. The make-up of the tribunals would also be problematic. If the tribunals are staffed by Catholic canon lawyers, they intrude upon the original jurisdiction of the Orthodox bishops over their own dioceses. If the tribunals are composed of Orthodox clergy, they lack sufficient understanding of the Catholic process to carry it out properly.

        >> 3. And what if a tribunal decides that it lacks basis to grant a decree of nullity with respect to an earlier attempt at marriage, when the petitioner has already entered into another marriage through the Orthodox process?

        This approach seems to open a can of worms that’s likely to create more problems and difficulties than it would solve, even if the Ecumenical Patriarch and the bishops who are in communion with him would agree to it — which also seems unlikely.

        Of course, maybe the wise minds in the Vatican and the Phanar can come up with another way. Any thoughts as to what that way might be?

        Norm.

  2. William Tighe says:

    Norm,

    You wrote:

    “As best I can tell, Cardinal Kasper has advocated only that the Catholic Church consider admitting the present practice of the Orthodox Communion — which would seem to be the most practicable path to reconciliation.”

    People are always saying this, but it isn’t true. The Orthodox have such a thing as “ecclesiastical divorce” (the terms and conditions for which can vary widely from one Orthodox jurisdiction to another) and such an “ecclesiastical divorce” is a precondition for a church remarriage. Cardinal Kasper has made it very clear (as, to cite one example, his address to the Curia last February, subsequently published as a 53-page book entitled “The Gospel of the Family”)

    https://www.google.com/search?q=kasper+gospel+of+the+family&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&channel=nts#q=kasper+gospel+of+the+family&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=nts&tbm=shop

    in which he stated explicitly that he believed that due to the indissolubility of a valid Catholic sacramental marriage no such “church remarriage” or church “blessing” of a civil (re)marriage is possible; rather, he advocated that the parties to such a civil (re)marriage could be readmitted to the Eucharist after a “period of reflection and penitence” (but allowing for ongoing sexual relations between the parties to such a civil [re]marriage). Whatever this is, it is not “the Orthodox practice,” and to my mind would amount to admitting to sacramental communion individuals who are living in a situation of ongoing adultery.

    You also wrote:

    “In the context of this discussion, it is significant that the churches of the Orthodox Communion uphold the same doctrine of the indissolubility of marriage articulated by the Catholic Church …”

    Not necessarily. I have recently read a superbly cogent essay, published in this book:

    http://www.ignatius.com/Products/CategoryCenter.aspx?SearchTerm=dodaro

    (a book which I urge everyone who wishes to opine on this subject to obtain and to “read, mark, and inwardly digest”), “Separation, Divorce, Dissolution of the Bond, and Remarriage: Theological and Practical Approaches of the Orthodox Churches” by Archbishop Cyril Vasil’, S.J. (Archbishop Vasil’ is the Secretary of the Vatican’s Congregation for Oriental Churches), which demonstrates than in the view of many Orthodox theologians and canonists, marital indissolubility is “an ideal” rather than a binding sacramental and canonical fact; and the archbishop concludes that the Orthodox practice is incompatible with the historical doctrinal stance (arguably defined magisterially by the Council of Trent) and historical practice of the Catholic Church, and thus impossible for the Catholic Church to adopt.

    Speaking for myself, I see no way of reconciling the divergent beliefs and practices of the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church on this matter, and for (re)union to take place I have been forced to conclude that either the Catholic Church will have to abandon what it believes and professes about marital indissolubility and accept that of the Orthodox, or that the Orthodox will have to abandon theirs and accept that of the Catholics. But, then, I have never believed that “putting the Great Schism to rest” is as easy a matter, or one “just around the corner” as many naive Catholics appear to believe, but, rather, that while it is a pious aspiration, its realization is a remote prospect (as most Orthodox, even discerning and “Catholic-friendly” ones, recognize).

    • John Walter S. says:

      Right on, Dr. Tighe. There’s no reconciliation possible between Orthodox and Catholic at least by attempting to artificially have the same beliefs and practices. It will result in fake theology, fake liturgy, and so forth. I’d think that we have to wait until all other churches die out, and the last one can, by default, be the correct one.

      It would be terrible for churches to die out, really. But that’s what’s coming.

  3. John Walter S. says:

    Of course we should all be obsessed with the Law, because it expresses the righteousness of God. That is why an unjust law is not a law at all, and why Jesus said He did not come to abolish the Law. But I agree that Doctrines are not laws, but laws flow from Doctrines. The Doctrine of the Eucharist is the source of Canon 915, for example. If laws are as such that people aren’t willing to enforce or follow them, it says something about the people entrusted to enforce them, rather than the Doctrine itself. Maybe they’re ignorant, stupid, crazy, or just evil, who knows.

    Also, I don’t understand why the Orthodox are being brought into this; they have no intention of forming a union with Rome unless the Pope renounces his claims to infallibility, etc. And any well-intentioned expressions of good will towards them by changing anything on our side, I doubt, will convince the Orthodox from thinking that we’re all smooth, tricky, unwashed heretics.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      John,

      You wrote: That is why an unjust law is not a law at all, and why Jesus said He did not come to abolish the Law.

      If you are going to quote what somebody said, you need to quote the whole. Jesus actually said that he did not come to abolish the law, but rather to fulfill the law. Once fulfilled, the law no longer binds. That is why we, as Christians, no longer offer the animal sacrifices prescribed in the Torah, we no longer keep the Sabbath (Saturday), we no longer slaughter and roast a lamb and sprinkle its blood on our lintels at Passover, etc.

      You wrote: The Doctrine of the Eucharist is the source of Canon 915, for example.

      Yes, of course.

      That said, the canon entails certain practical implications. In many parishes, ministers of communion seldom really know the members of the congregation who come forward to receive communion. Even if a canonical penalty has been declared or knowledge of its imposition is public (which happens only in notorious cases), the minister of communion is likely not to recognize a person who comes forward for the sacrament as the individual named in the public notice, nor can a minister who actually does know of the penalty and who is certain of the identity of the individual be certain that such a canonical penalty has not been absolved. Also, one cannot presume sin: one cannot presume that two adults sharing a home who are not married to each other are in fact engaging in sexual relations. Absent certainty as to the details of the situation, the minister cannot refuse the sacrament.

      Here, a confessor is in a much better situation than a minister of communion. Individual confession affords the confessor an opportunity to enquire as to the particulars of the situation, coupled with the duty to discern it. Where there’s a clear lack of repentance, manifest by some affirmative action to change the dynamic of habitual sin, the confessor should not grant absolution.

      Norm.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      John,

      Sorry for the second reply, but your second paragraph really is a separate subject.

      You wrote: Also, I don’t understand why the Orthodox are being brought into this; they have no intention of forming a union with Rome unless the Pope renounces his claims to infallibility, etc.

      There’s the public posture, and there’s the reality of progress of ecumenical dialog — which undoubtedly goes far beyond the public record thereof. Did you happen to notice the gent dressed in black robes and a Byzantine headdress and veil shadowing the pope during his prayer session in the Vatican Garden with the President of Israel and the President of the Palestine several months ago? Do you really think that His Beatitude Bartholomew was at the Vatican on that occasion solely for a photo op?

      And do you think it was mere coincidence that, nearly two decades ago, Pope John Paul II, in the encyclical Ut unam sint on ecumenism, articulated the essence of the papal office and invited scholars of all denominations to examine the “manner of exercise” thereof? I rather suspect that dialog on this issue has now reached a consensus that the leadership of the Orthodox Communion deems acceptable.

      It does seem that ecumenical dialog between the Catholic Church and the churches of the Orthodox Communion has progressed to the point of addressing the “brass tacks” issues — that is, the real “nuts and bolts” of how to bring about reconciliation. An essential part of this process is addressing issues in which one body presently does not accept the practice of the other body — and accommodation of remarriage after a secular divorce is certainly a major obstacle. Here, the objecting side must examine the practice of the other in the light of its doctrinal principles to ascertain whether there’s enough “wiggle room” in the doctrinal principles, or potential to clarify the doctrinal principles, to make an accommodation and, if so, whether that accommodation can, and should, extend to its present members. This process obviously involves a lot of analysis and study that will take a considerable amount of time. What is clear is that the pope deems that it is now time to begin this process.

      I obviously do not anticipate any announcement of an end to the Great Schism during the pope’s visit to the ecumenical patriarch at the Phanar this weekend, but the fact that the pope has decided to go to the Phanar for the Feast of St. Andrew personally, rather than sending a delegation, clearly is significant. Again, he undoubtedly is not going to the Phanar for just a photo op.

      Norm.

      • John Walter S. says:

        But Rev, we can argue that the only Orthodox who are enthusiastic about any sort of ecumenical progress are the ones tied to the Ecumenical Patriarch, whose power and influence are already waning and whose authority as “Primus Inter Pares” is being seriously questioned by fellow Orthodox, like the community of Mt. Athos, and most important of them being the Church of Russia, whose hierarchy seem virulently anti-Catholic, to the point where the strife in Ukraine is being blamed to the Greek Catholics.

        This is why the Russian Patriarch has not yet met with the Roman Pontiff, the largest Orthodox Church, makes it apparent that Orthodoxy will not budge for Catholicism, maybe to their detriment- we can see from history how secular powers meddle with the Church from time to time, and there is no “Separation of Church and State” to preserve them. Of course, Russia is not the whole of Orthodoxy, but they account for the largest, because they preserve their heritage and have not yet been dominated by the Moslems in the same direct way other Orthodox churches have been for centuries.

        I do not know how the Phanariotes will receive this Pontiff, but rest assured, Russia most likely has great dislike for Pope Francis, the same way they disliked Pope St. John Paul II, mostly because of the festering wound that is the Ukraine. Other than that, the question of Primacy, however may it be interpreted, becomes deadlocked regardless- yes, we have heard from Metropolitan Kalistos Ware that the “Orthodox” (I don’t know for whom he speaks, the Orthodox are fragmented in many ways, even in things like Baptism for former Roman Catholics) accept a three-fold authority of the Primus Inter Pares, but it’s not a unanimous opinion of the Orthodox World. The same goes with other things like the interpretation of the Filioque of “Through the Son” and “From the Son in Eternity, not temporally” you have a varieties of opinions ranging from “That’s heretical!” and “That’s just a theological opinion” and “Regardless, don’t change the Creed!”

        No matter what this Papacy does with the Orthodox, it doesn’t seem very intellectually-minded, as its focus is on being pastoral, on poverty and social justice, not ecumenism. It’s still good for the Pope to visit the Orthodox, mind you- but there’s just going to be another “Joint Declaration” or some other statement that really does nothing to change anything. (If Russia has anything to say about it.)

      • William Tighe says:

        In response to this supposition (totally unfounded, in my view, and lacking any evidence to support it), I will simply repeat what I posted above:

        “… I have never believed that ‘putting the Great Schism to rest’ is as easy a matter, or one ‘just around the corner’ as many naive Catholics appear to believe, but, rather, that while it is a pious aspiration, its realization is a remote prospect (as most Orthodox, even discerning and “Catholic-friendly” ones, recognize).”

        I will add, that in my view such an optimistic outlook seems to reflect a profound misunderstanding of Orthodox ecclesiology, in particular, that the authority of the Ecumenical Patriarch in the Orthodox Church is “quasi-papal” in nature. If, ex hypothesi, the EP should accept some sort of “reconciliation” with Rome, the most likely result, things being as they now are, would be a repudiation of communion with him on the part of the vast majority of the Orthodox churches, including, most likely, Russia, Greece and the other three ancient Eastern patriarchates (Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem). In other words, precisely the same thing that happened in the aftermath of the Union proclaimed in 1439 at the Council of Florence. Such an outcome would hardly be one which (I imagine) Rome would desire.

      • John Walter S. says:

        Dr. Tighe, did you remember the outrage expressed by Athonite monks after Patriarch Bartholomew prayed with Pope Benedict? They called the Patriarch “MISTER Bartholomew” and a tone of “Who does he think he is?” – it’s absolutely the opposite of how Catholics treat a Pope who would pray with Muslims and have an easygoing attitude about it.

        Do any of us really believe that the Orthodox, whose traditional lands have mostly been occupied by Moslems, find appealing even just the idea of communion with a bishop who prays with a Moslem? They can’t even stand the notion of one of their own praying with Catholics! They can’t agree if the Catholic Church is with grace, or without grace, but they all agree that the issue of Papal supremacy is the main obstacle to any constructive “dialogue” otherwise it’s all small talk and pleasantries. Nothing substantial.

        We hear news like that agreement in the Holy Land betweenCatholics and Orthodox sharing the same calendar (Julian, I think?) so Christians won’t look silly when they say “Jesus was born today, December 25” and then another one says it’s January. But those are exceptions. Most of the time, various churches try not to tear each others’ beards apart over things like “whose turn is it to clean the Sepulchre?” to the point where the keys to the most holiest site in Christendom are cared for by a Moslem family.

      • Rev22:17 says:

        John,

        You wrote: But Rev, we can argue that the only Orthodox who are enthusiastic about any sort of ecumenical progress are the ones tied to the Ecumenical Patriarch, whose power and influence are already waning and whose authority as “Primus Inter Pares” is being seriously questioned by fellow Orthodox, like the community of Mt. Athos, and most important of them being the Church of Russia, whose hierarchy seem virulently anti-Catholic, to the point where the strife in Ukraine is being blamed to the Greek Catholics.

        First, let’s be clear as to terminology.

        >> The term “Orthodox Communion” refers only to the autocephalous national churches of the Byzantine Rite, each headed by a patriarch and a synod, that maintain communion with the Ecumenical Patriarch. The entire Orthodox Communion was in full communion with the Catholic Church until the Great Schism in 1054 AD. All of the member churches are fundamentally European or based in Asia Minor (Turkey), though the Russian Orthodox Church extends throughout all of Russia and into North America and some others may maintain eparchies (dioceses) or exarchates in places to which large numbers of their members have migrated.

        >> The term “ancient oriental churches” refers to several autonomous churches of Asia and Africa, predominantly of apostolic origin, that never formally entered into schism but that became separated from the European (Catholic/Orthodox) church due to geographical and political barriers before the third century. These churches are not, and never were, part of the Orthodox Communion even though some of them, like the Syrian Orthodox Church, happen to include the word “orthodox” in their official names. Some of these churches were previously thought to be heretical (Arian or monophysite) due to Roman misunderstandings of their doctrinal positions, but the magisterium of the Catholic Church reexamined and resolved the points misunderstanding in the twentieth century.

        One does not expect that reconciliation of the Orthodox Communion with the Catholic Church would include any of the ancient oriental churches because the ancient oriental churches were never part of the Orthodox Communion.

        There’s no doubt that a considerable tension developed between the Russian Orthodox Church, led by the Patriarch of Moscow, and the Ecumenical Patriarch in the last few decades. The source of this tension seems to be a turf battle, with the Patriarch of Moscow claiming jurisdiction outside of Russia after the Ecumenical Patriarch approved restoration of autocephalous churches in the former Soviet republics that gained independence and moved to establish a common hierarchy in countries such as the United States that had immigrant populations from several autocephalous bodies with separate hierarchies reporting to the autocephalous churches from which they came. This situation was very close to a full-blown schism a couple decades ago, and I’m not persuaded that it has been defused. There was an incident a few years ago in which representatives of the Patriarch of Moscow walked out of a meeting of the commission for ecumenical dialog because representatives of the resurrected Estonian Orthodox Church were admitted. So yes, if the Ecumenical Patriarchate agrees to reconciliation with the Catholic Church, it seems very likely that the Patriarch of Moscow might completely communion and thus become a separate denomination, if it is not already (at least de facto), but even that is not a given. But AFAIK, all of the other autocephalous orthodox patriarchates very are willing participants in the dialog with the Catholic Church under the auspices of the ecumenical patriarchate, and would follow the ecumenical patriarch in reconciliation. I have not seen any indication whatsoever otherwise.

        Now, you associate anti-Catholic sentiments with a monastery on Mount Athos. I’m not aware of the situation, but what are that monastery’s options if their bishop and their patriarchate return to full communion with the Catholic Church? Monasteries typically do not have bishops among their members, so a split from their autocephalous church would leave them no access to a bishop who might ordain their members. Without ordinations, their ability to sustain sacramental ministry within the monastic community would soon expire. Thus, severing from their diocese seems impracticable. It seems more likely that they would go along with the reconciliation out of lack of a viable alternative, if for no other reason.

        You continued: Of course, Russia is not the whole of Orthodoxy, but they account for the largest, because they preserve their heritage and have not yet been dominated by the Moslems in the same direct way other Orthodox churches have been for centuries.

        That’s not really accurate. I’m not aware of any of the autocephalous churches of the Orthodox Communion being dominated by Moslems to any significant degree. The Russian Orthodox Church is the largest simply because Russia is much larger than any other country that hosts an autocephalous church of the Orthodox Communion, and thus has a much larger population from which the Russian Orthodox Church can draw members. But in all of the other countries that host autocephalous orthodox churches

        You wrote: Other than that, the question of Primacy, however may it be interpreted, becomes deadlocked regardless- yes, we have heard from Metropolitan Kalistos Ware that the “Orthodox” (I don’t know for whom he speaks, the Orthodox are fragmented in many ways, even in things like Baptism for former Roman Catholics) accept a three-fold authority of the Primus Inter Pares, but it’s not a unanimous opinion of the Orthodox World.

        This is an area in which there’s really little to negotiate, since the earliest ecumenical councils spoke to the subject, defining explicitly that the see of Rome is first and the see of Constantinople is second in precedence among the patriarchal sees. There is more room for negotiation of the appropriate “manner of exercise” of the papal office and what can be done to prevent what are now regarded as abuses of past centuries.

        You wrote: The same goes with other things like the interpretation of the Filioque of “Through the Son” and “From the Son in Eternity, not temporally” you have a varieties of opinions ranging from “That’s heretical!” and “That’s just a theological opinion” and “Regardless, don’t change the Creed!”

        Perhaps you missed it, but this issue has been put to rest a couple decades ago with agreement that the creed has the same meaning with or without the “filioque” clause.

        You wrote: No matter what this Papacy does with the Orthodox, it doesn’t seem very intellectually-minded, as its focus is on being pastoral, on poverty and social justice, not ecumenism. It’s still good for the Pope to visit the Orthodox, mind you- but there’s just going to be another “Joint Declaration” or some other statement that really does nothing to change anything. (If Russia has anything to say about it.)

        Here, I think that you are completely misreading this papacy. Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew clearly are on a mission to move reconciliation forward. The joint declaration issued today contains the following paragraph.

        We express our sincere and firm resolution, in obedience to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, to intensify our efforts to promote the full unity of all Christians, and above all between Catholics and Orthodox. As well, we intend to support the theological dialogue promoted by the Joint International Commission, instituted exactly thirty–five years ago by the Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios and Pope John Paul II here at the Phanar, and which is currently dealing with the most difficult questions that have marked the history of our division and that require careful and detailed study. To this end, we offer the assurance of our fervent prayer as Pastors of the Church, asking our faithful to join us in praying ‘that all may be one, that the world may believe’.

        Until now, ecumenical dialog has generally progressed issue by issue. I think that the present pope is attempting to move issues in parallel, at least within the magisterium of the Catholic Church, so that the dialog can progress more quickly.

        Norm.

      • Rev22:17 says:

        Professor Tighe,

        You wrote: I will add, that in my view such an optimistic outlook seems to reflect a profound misunderstanding of Orthodox ecclesiology, in particular, that the authority of the Ecumenical Patriarch in the Orthodox Church is “quasi-papal” in nature.

        Rest assured that I harbor no such misconception.

        However, it is also clear that all of the autocephalous orthodox churches except perhaps the Russian Orthodox Church are active participants in the present dialog, and that the dialog is a collaborative effort on their part.

        You continued: If, ex hypothesi, the EP should accept some sort of “reconciliation” with Rome, the most likely result, things being as they now are, would be a repudiation of communion with him on the part of the vast majority of the Orthodox churches, including, most likely, Russia, Greece and the other three ancient Eastern patriarchates (Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem). In other words, precisely the same thing that happened in the aftermath of the Union proclaimed in 1439 at the Council of Florence. Such an outcome would hardly be one which (I imagine) Rome would desire.

        I’m sure that the Vatican would prefer reconciliation with the entire Orthodox Communion, but that might not be achievable in the near term. The question then becomes whether half a loaf is better than none.

        That said, the present dialog appears to be laying a much more sure foundation for reconciliation than that of the Council of Florence.

        Norm.

  4. John Walter S. says:

    Rev

    Yes, Jesus did not abolish the Law, but that fulfillment does not abolish the Law. In what way does that make sense? “I did not come to abolish the Law, but fulfill it, so it’s abolished later on.” Why not just say, that “I have come to abolish the Law” if the fulfillment is to abolish it all the same? If we are no longer bound by the Laws of Moses, why maintain the Decalogue?

    I’d say, the authority of the Law is transferred into the Magisterium of our Church- there are the commandments of God, which govern the whole of the Creation and are immutable- to break them is sin; there are the Laws of the Church, which govern the People of God, (us) and then the laws of men, which though inferior they may be, still echo some sense of righteousness.

    Because Jesus fulfilled the Messianic promise, we are not then bound by the Old Covenant, but by the New Covenant, which is why we don’t offer animal sacrifices in our Church, but we still make cereal offerings, in such a way that Christ’s own sacrifice in the Eucharist fulfills all the deficiencies of all the valid and holy sacrifices offered at the Temple, making Christianity the true continuation of the faith of St. Abraham, St. David, and all the Prophets.

    How sad it is, then, to see Christians worship the Lord wrongly in conflating the Eucharist with the Seder? It ties into one of the controversies between the Orthodox and the Catholics- the usage of Azymes and the Artos, the former being our hosts, and the latter being the leavened bread, which the Orthodox describe as living bread, a “lamb” that will be the center of the Divine Liturgy.

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