Let Us Attend Orthodox Apologetics
A Humorous Dialogue with a Would-be Roman Catholic Apologist
Joe Suaiden


Log: Sat Oct 30 23:51:51 2004

JoeSuaiden: long time no see!

(unnamed apologist then asks for age, sex, location, and Suaiden explains he is another male and that he saw his post on an orthodox discussion list.  After explaining he is a sedevacantist-- a RC that believes the Papal chair is empty, Suaiden explains he is a True Orthodox, et cetera, RC asks the typical question about Suaiden's feelings on Augustine, et cetera)

name_witheld_out_of_respect: hmmm
name_witheld_out_of_respect: I've heard there are old calendarists
name_witheld_out_of_respect: and new calendarists
name_witheld_out_of_respect: I presume you are old
JoeSuaiden: Yes.
JoeSuaiden: All Russian Orthodox are actually.  But it's simple:
JoeSuaiden: Old Calendarists (non-Russian) are Orthodox- New Calendarists are not.  True Russians (non-KGB) are Orthodox, MP (KGB) is not.
name_witheld_out_of_respect: LOL
name_witheld_out_of_respect: I see
name_witheld_out_of_respect: interesting
name_witheld_out_of_respect: well what do you think of the fact that Christ singled out Peter for the keys?
JoeSuaiden: It's pretty simple.  A heretic is a heretic is a heretic, and we are called to sever communion from heresy.
JoeSuaiden: It's an interesting question-- Peter was the first of the Apostolic Choir.
JoeSuaiden: He was the leader of the Apostles.
name_witheld_out_of_respect: but first in authority as well my friend
name_witheld_out_of_respect: he was given the keys
name_witheld_out_of_respect: its a very risky proposition for you to deny that
JoeSuaiden: But first in authority doesn't mean "over the other apostles".  If I said that the Apostolic See had *no rights*, I'd be lying.
JoeSuaiden: But there are still problems with the argument.  The first being that there are three Petrine sees.
JoeSuaiden: St Leo and St Gregory made this clear as well.
name_witheld_out_of_respect: well yes but Peter shifted
JoeSuaiden: And St Gregory actually had the keys of St Peter himself.
name_witheld_out_of_respect: and so the authority shifted with him
JoeSuaiden: So in other words, the sees he established became invalid after he left???
name_witheld_out_of_respect: no not invalid, but the authority that was his moved with him
name_witheld_out_of_respect: and the rest become subject to wherever he moved
JoeSuaiden: Yes, but then the authority died with him.  I don't believe that.
JoeSuaiden: Either he endowed his successors with his authority or not.
name_witheld_out_of_respect: no the authority continued in his successors after he died, but moved with him during his life, where he moved the keys moved
name_witheld_out_of_respect: when he died the keys passed on
JoeSuaiden: Are you offended easily? :)

[pause]

JoeSuaiden: If so, warning in advance.  There isn't a single Father who has *ever* taught that.

[pause]

name_witheld_out_of_respect: well there is a lot thats not in the Fathers
JoeSuaiden: Not to us.
name_witheld_out_of_respect: thats why we rely on the Church
name_witheld_out_of_respect: as the final arbiter
JoeSuaiden: The Fathers are the light of the Church.  The Church cannot exist without the Fathers and vice-versa.
name_witheld_out_of_respect: oh I agree
name_witheld_out_of_respect: they are very strong
JoeSuaiden: My point is that the early popes (with the notable exception of St Hormisdas, who was corrected) taught that the see of Peter was three
name_witheld_out_of_respect: but they do not decide what the faith is to be
name_witheld_out_of_respect: they reflect the constant teaching of the Church
name_witheld_out_of_respect: well in certain contexts
name_witheld_out_of_respect: they mention it as being 3
name_witheld_out_of_respect: out of respect for the other patriarchates
JoeSuaiden: But there were already 5 Patriarchates
name_witheld_out_of_respect: but that didn't mean they were acceding their ultimate authority
name_witheld_out_of_respect: they were just being respectful
name_witheld_out_of_respect: also you have to take into account issues of transportation and management
name_witheld_out_of_respect: the church was less decentralized then becasue it had to be
name_witheld_out_of_respect: was more I mean
JoeSuaiden:
Take the Arian example.
JoeSuaiden: Who were the chief defenders of the faith?
JoeSuaiden: The Petrine see-- Athanasius of Alexandria and John of Antioch went to Julius of Rome: together they anathematized Arianism.
name_witheld_out_of_respect: the Fathers often contradict each other
name_witheld_out_of_respect: how do you know which are you going to follow
JoeSuaiden: They don't really contradict each other much at all-- following the Vincentian canon makes it easy.
JoeSuaiden: Everywhere-- at all times-- by all.
JoeSuaiden: That is the standard of Orthodoxy.
name_witheld_out_of_respect: well some teach baptism of desire, some say water baptism is 100% necessary
name_witheld_out_of_respect: etc
JoeSuaiden: The first-- both are right-- one is strictness, the other economy.

name_witheld_out_of_respect: some taught that mary had sin, some taught she didn't
JoeSuaiden: Not a single Father taught the second premise to my knowledge.
JoeSuaiden: The only Father who comes close is St John Chrysostom, who says Mary was tempted by despair.  That's it.
JoeSuaiden: What Father could say such an evil thing about the Mother of God?

name_witheld_out_of_respect: and the Assumption of Mary
name_witheld_out_of_respect: not too much in the Fathers for that
JoeSuaiden: ????
JoeSuaiden: There are a number of Fathers who teach this:
JoeSuaiden: it's Orthodox dogma.
name_witheld_out_of_respect: the Assumption?  I've looked high and low
name_witheld_out_of_respect: haven't seen much
JoeSuaiden: No, I can find it for you.
name_witheld_out_of_respect: earliest was in the 700s for an explicit mention
name_witheld_out_of_respect: ok

name_witheld_out_of_respect: which set of Fathers do you use
JoeSuaiden: All the Orthodox ones :)
JoeSuaiden: I don't use sets.  Migne is the best available but who has access to it?
JoeSuaiden: Much of it has been translated into English though.
name_witheld_out_of_respect: hmmm yes I'm not even sure how to get those are they on Amazon?

[Suaiden pauses for a moment, wonders if Patrologia Latina is indeed on Amazon]

name_witheld_out_of_respect: I use the Oxford sets the British translations usually, the common one among catholics
name_witheld_out_of_respect: perhaps you have different sources
name_witheld_out_of_respect: also the American ones too
name_witheld_out_of_respect: Catholic University
JoeSuaiden: No, I use the free ones too :)
name_witheld_out_of_respect: ok
JoeSuaiden: looking for the Patristic texts on Dormition.
name_witheld_out_of_respect: you know there are many fathers that exalt the Petrine authority right?
JoeSuaiden: Yes, and I agree with them.  But we have to remember where that authority comes from and what it means.
name_witheld_out_of_respect: whatever Peter alone binds on earth is bound in heaven
name_witheld_out_of_respect: he can change creeds
JoeSuaiden: Well, no, that's all the Apostles.
name_witheld_out_of_respect: a single head is necessary
name_witheld_out_of_respect: nope, just Peter too
name_witheld_out_of_respect: Christ first spoke it ONLY to Peter (without the other apostles)
JoeSuaiden: Yes, because Peter had the Faith.
name_witheld_out_of_respect: and then to the apostles as a group
name_witheld_out_of_respect: the point is that Christ singled out Peter to have that authority independently of the group
JoeSuaiden: When the other Apostles were ready, they received the gift.
name_witheld_out_of_respect: if needed
JoeSuaiden: Not "if needed".
JoeSuaiden: They did.

[pause]

name_witheld_out_of_respect: all the other apostles were following Jesus
JoeSuaiden: But Peter alone confessed Him to be the Christ.
JoeSuaiden: The point is that binding and loosing is simply not a prerogative of the keys but of the confession of faith.
JoeSuaiden: And no, that doesn't give him the right to change creeds.
JoeSuaiden: Pope Leo VIII anathematized this idea.

name_witheld_out_of_respect:
many times the orthodox almost reconciled with Rome and admitted their errors
JoeSuaiden: And no, they didn't *admit* their errors.  Give one example.
name_witheld_out_of_respect: well they certainly almost reconciled with Rome, that meant accepting the Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son
name_witheld_out_of_respect: Basil
name_witheld_out_of_respect: Council
JoeSuaiden: No, I mean before the schism.
JoeSuaiden: Take for example St Photius.

[pause]

name_witheld_out_of_respect: Augustine taught original sin
name_witheld_out_of_respect: you deny it right?
name_witheld_out_of_respect: thats one example of how the fathers contradict
name_witheld_out_of_respect: Fulgentius was with Augustine on that point
name_witheld_out_of_respect: also Stephen and Cyril didn't agree, who was right?
JoeSuaiden: I don't deny original sin, but Augustine's concept of original guilt.
JoeSuaiden: And Augustine himself left any errors in his work to be corrected by the Church in his will.
JoeSuaiden: St John Cassian condemned his teaching outright.
JoeSuaiden: Stephen and Cyril on what?
name_witheld_out_of_respect: and how do you know Augustine didn't have the true apostolic tradition?  also, how do you know that silence means the Father rejects a concept?  how do you determine universality?
name_witheld_out_of_respect: baptism
JoeSuaiden: Stephen and Cyprian.

[pause]

name_witheld_out_of_respect: sorry
name_witheld_out_of_respect: Cyprian
name_witheld_out_of_respect: yes
JoeSuaiden: I told you, the Church recognized both their teachings because they didn't contradict.
JoeSuaiden: As for Augustine, I know because his teaching didn't match what he was taught.  He speculated on these matters-- and admittedly did so.
JoeSuaiden: There is no (great) sin in speculation, but that's not enough to call it the true Apostolic tradition.

name_witheld_out_of_respect:
right
name_witheld_out_of_respect: but
name_witheld_out_of_respect: it wasn't all speculation
name_witheld_out_of_respect: Fulgentius followed after it
JoeSuaiden: no, not all.
JoeSuaiden: Fulgentius was then wrong.  That simple.  Augustine was right on many matters-- and wrong on others.  Where he agrees with the *Catholic* (universal) teaching, he is fine.
JoeSuaiden: Where he doesn't, he's not.
JoeSuaiden: The earliest clear reference to the Assumption is St Epiphanius of Cyprus (390)
name_witheld_out_of_respect: pretty late
name_witheld_out_of_respect: but, not that bad
JoeSuaiden: Yes, but if you look at the writing....
name_witheld_out_of_respect: how do you know it was universal?
JoeSuaiden: he is expounding on a teaching that was already well understood by his audience.
JoeSuaiden: and there are no graves, no tombs, unlike all the other Apostolic Churches.
name_witheld_out_of_respect: right there are evidences
JoeSuaiden: Not with the grave of the Mother of God.
JoeSuaiden: No grave.
name_witheld_out_of_respect: fright
name_witheld_out_of_respect: right
name_witheld_out_of_respect: absence of evidence I guess I should say
JoeSuaiden: Even if we assumed that the teaching started when St E was taught-- this would place the teaching around the time of the legalisation of Christianity.
JoeSuaiden: When it was safe.
JoeSuaiden: "Juvenal, Bishop of Jerusalem at the Council of Chalcedon (451) made known to the Emperor Marcian and [his Empress] Pulcharia, who wished to possess the body of the Mother of God, that Mary died in the presence of all the Apostles and that her tomb, when opened upon the request of St. Thomas, was found empty; wherefrom the Apostles concluded that the body was taken up to Heaven." (Homily on the Dormition, PG 96)
JoeSuaiden: what could be clearer?
name_witheld_out_of_respect: oh yes its very clear no doubt
name_witheld_out_of_respect: its just one bishop
name_witheld_out_of_respect: thats all
name_witheld_out_of_respect: you can't apply the test of Lerins
JoeSuaiden: reporting the Apostolic teaching, though.
JoeSuaiden: this was understood to the people then.
JoeSuaiden: And St Epiphanos is speaking directly about the Palestinian tradition--
JoeSuaiden: the one that would know precisely such a thing.
name_witheld_out_of_respect: and you know
name_witheld_out_of_respect: many fathers taught double procession
JoeSuaiden: Besides Augustine, who did you have in mind?
name_witheld_out_of_respect: have a list hold on
JoeSuaiden: go one by one with me, I am slow to answer.
JoeSuaiden: and remember-- "from" and "through" the Son don't mean the same thing.
name_witheld_out_of_respect: if the Holy Spirit goes through the Son then it is also going from the Son
name_witheld_out_of_respect: I don't see the problem
name_witheld_out_of_respect: Epiphanius of Salamis    "The Father always existed and the Son always existed, and the Spirit breathes from the Father and the Son" (The Man Well-Anchored 75 [A.D. 374]). 
JoeSuaiden: Because one is a question of origin, or source, the other is a question of transmission.
JoeSuaiden: But that's not origin, that's spiration (transmission).
(Late Night Error Alert: Suaiden *meant * "generation"-- as spiration is origin.  Sadly, our would-be-defender of the Papal Throne missed a rare opportunity to misquote the Fathers for the evening.)
JoeSuaiden: The RC teaching is about a double origin (see the council of Florence.)
name_witheld_out_of_respect: it says proceeds from the Father and the Son, when you read that you don't have to deny that it moves through the Son as well
JoeSuaiden: That's very post- Vatican II of you :) but that isn't the RC teaching.
JoeSuaiden: It's that the Father and Son are twin sources of the Spirit.
JoeSuaiden: I can quote the relevant part.
name_witheld_out_of_respect: no no I believe I know what you are referring to
JoeSuaiden: Ok
name_witheld_out_of_respect: Florence right?
name_witheld_out_of_respect: let me review it again
JoeSuaiden: ok
JoeSuaiden: Interestingly....
JoeSuaiden: the Council of Toledo which introduced the Filioque *didn't* teach the double origin, but a single one.

[pause]

name_witheld_out_of_respect:
ok actually I do not see any quotes that support double origin
name_witheld_out_of_respect: Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, "Laetentur coeli",� July 6, 1439, ex cathedra: "In the name of the Holy Trinity, of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, with the approbation of this holy general Council of Florence we define that this truth of faith be believed and accepted by all Christians, and that all likewise profess that the Holy Ghost is eternally from the Father and the Son. We define in addition that the explanation of the words Filioque for the sake of declaring the truth and also because of imminent necessity has been lawfully added to the Creed."
name_witheld_out_of_respect: Pope Gregory X, Second Council of Lyons, 1274, ex cathedra: "We profess faithfully and devotedly that the Holy Ghost proceeds eternally from the Father and the Son, not as from two principles, but as from one principle. 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. 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 Ghost proceeds eternally from the Father and the Son, or rashly to assert that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son as from two principles" and not
name_witheld_out_of_respect: in the sense of
name_witheld_out_of_respect: twin sources
name_witheld_out_of_respect: it simply says you must confess it proceeds from the Father and the Son
JoeSuaiden: It actually says if you don't you are condemned.
name_witheld_out_of_respect: right
JoeSuaiden: Which means all those Fathers?
JoeSuaiden: Condemned.

[pause]

name_witheld_out_of_respect: well they were wrong and the Church, Peter, who has the keys and binds in heaven, made his decision
JoeSuaiden: Can you see why St Mark wasn't into the decision?
name_witheld_out_of_respect: since the Church had not yet bound the Fathers
name_witheld_out_of_respect: they were not heretics
JoeSuaiden: I don't think that's what Christ intended with the Keys.
name_witheld_out_of_respect: they were just mistaken
JoeSuaiden: No evidence of that.
name_witheld_out_of_respect: Christ said "WHATEVER you bind in heaven is bound on earth"
name_witheld_out_of_respect: bind on earth is bound in heaven
name_witheld_out_of_respect: excuse me
JoeSuaiden: No Council defends this teaching.

name_witheld_out_of_respect: what's the point of giving the keys?
JoeSuaiden: Yes, but where does your interpretation of binding and loosing come from?
JoeSuaiden: Mine comes from the way it's always been understood.
name_witheld_out_of_respect: why didn't he give the keys to all the apostles?
name_witheld_out_of_respect: I think you are taking an incredible risk with your soul to deny petrine authority
name_witheld_out_of_respect: we essentially hold the same faith
name_witheld_out_of_respect: the only difference is that I submit to the Roman Pontiff
name_witheld_out_of_respect: successor of St. Peter
name_witheld_out_of_respect: holder of the keys
name_witheld_out_of_respect: exalted by all the Fathers!
JoeSuaiden: Not really.  I respect you.  But we have a different faith.  You believe that a man on earth has the right to act as judge over the Church of the living and the dead.  I believe that there is only one judge, Christ-- to which we are all, Apostles, Bishops, priests, laymen, accountable.

[pause]

name_witheld_out_of_respect: in order for the Church to maintain unity and organization Christ instituted one head
name_witheld_out_of_respect: on earth
JoeSuaiden: Yes, He did. *Himself*.  The Church is protected by the Holy Ghost.  This is how Orthodoxy survived for 2000 years, teaching the exact same thing it always taught.
name_witheld_out_of_respect: we have the same faith, there was no reason for the east to split from St. Peter, that is schism
name_witheld_out_of_respect: St. Peter is the head, if there is a split, then the head is the source of unity
name_witheld_out_of_respect: not the branch that split from the head
JoeSuaiden: A Catholic is taught from childhood, as I was, that the sources of our faith are Scripture and Tradition.
JoeSuaiden: If our teachers are at variance with this....
JoeSuaiden: then they are outside the Church.
name_witheld_out_of_respect: yes but Rome hadn't committed any heresy
name_witheld_out_of_respect: at the time of the split
JoeSuaiden: Actually, they had a couple, notably the filioque.
name_witheld_out_of_respect: I just showed you that Rome's stance on the filioque is not against the Fathers
JoeSuaiden: Well, you actually showed me Rome condemned all of the Fathers' teaching on the matter. 
name_witheld_out_of_respect: binding and loosing is jurisdictional, the keys are a jurisdictional power
name_witheld_out_of_respect: its not there simply for show
JoeSuaiden: I never said it was.
JoeSuaiden: But its purpose is for the remission of sin.
JoeSuaiden: confession?
name_witheld_out_of_respect: ok chap I need to get some sleep, must get up for mass
name_witheld_out_of_respect: but nice talking to you
name_witheld_out_of_respect: we should resume this soon
JoeSuaiden: likewise.

(After this we parted ways; further attempts to contact this fellow failed.)
Let Us Attend Orthodox Apologetics