Saturday, August 06, 2011

Safe Haven, Foreign Computer Edition: The comments on the 'My wheelchair was nearly destroyed by a car' post have been great fun. Let me deal with one argument commonly advanced against Rome's reckoning of the Ecumenical Councils: "It wasn't truly a council, because the Orthodox were not present." I can't be polite, here, sorry. What? Are you going to invite the Arians, too? Do you need the unanimous consent of all humanity before a Council of the Church becomes so? Don't hear what I'm not saying. I don't believe that Orthodox and Arians are in the same boat. Blessedly, they're not even on the same lake. But you see the flaw in this argument, don't you? You could choose any group of dissenters, and by the fact of their non-participation, call the Council invalid. Frankly, this is a bad argument. On the earth right now are 2 and only 2 candidates for Visible Church Founded By Jesus Christ. Other communions either have broken the physical and sacramental link to the Apostles, or denied that the link exists at all.
But the cold reality for the Orthodox, my dear Jamie, is that there hasn't been an Ecumenical Council called by the East because the patriarch of Constantinople has no authority to call one without the Bishop of Rome. The collegiality of the 5 historic sees is real, but it derives its sustenance from the primacy of the Bishop of Rome!
After all concessions have been made, jurisdictional overlaps considered, and tyrannies disavowed, the Bishop of Rome is still the center of visible unity for the entire Church.
Tim, by contrast, seems content with the "branch theory" of ecclesiology, which has a certain appeal until we come face to face with the reality of the individual being the focal point of deciding what branches off from what. Completely arbitrary. Also, it scarcely needs adding that as the praxis of said theory moves forward, it declines in explanatory power, as new groups add themselves to the party of line-drawers for who's actually in the True (invisible) Church. Doctrine must, of necessity, bcome relative because the discussion of what constitutes the true faith cannot be resolved satisfactorily (this means mutual agreement). I'm happy that we have "Jesus is Lord." But surely we can say more. We should be able. Of course the Anglicans don't believe their orders or sacraments are defective or deficient. Neither do the Gnostics.