Catholic Beliefs

edited December 1969 in Coptic Orthodox Church

i have a question regarding how these random catholic beliefs came about. i mean, making the mass shorter and all i can understand but what about things like St. Mary being born without sin, and pergatory, and the whole thing with the Holy Spirit proceeding from both the Father and the how did these things come about? was it just a random guy who thought of it out of the blue and convinced people with it with absolutely no proof or evidence from any of the Fathers? Is this considered a heresy? if it is, why didn't our fathers bring it down like they brought down the Arian heresy? i know very very very little about all of this, so take it easy with me.

also, another related question, is it ok if i tell people that they're wrong like catholics, protestants, etc. or is it rude to do so, and maybe i should just pray for them?

also, i thank God every day that i was born in the coptic orthodox church to good parents, but what about others, sometimes i feel really bad for them because they didn't have this chance that i have. i mean, if they were born to good parents in the orthodox church, they probably would have never rejected it, but they didn't have the chance. why is it that i had the chance but not them? is this the result of those people that came along the road and made up all these different religions? is it the result of their actions that all these people perish. all these people that are born into different religions, it's not their fault. what did they ever do wrong to deserve this? and what did i ever do right to deserve this? ...... is it wrong to ask all of these questions (in this paragraph) because i am questioning God's fairness? because i remember St. Anthony asked something along the same lines to God about the babies that die before they're born or when they're still babies or something like that and God told him to mind his own business. does God want me to mind my own business with this topic as well?

thanks and pray for me


  • the_least, you do have lots of questions LOL  :D. But I don’t think it is wrong to ask a lot of questions. Unless one asks questions how can he obey the Bible's saying “Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way.” 1Peter 3:15. So keep your questions coming and once you learn then you may lead others.
    the_least, I would say you have the right attitude. You acknowledge that we have no right to ask for an answer from the Lord. Remember how Abraham asked the Lord “…Since I have begun, let me speak further to my Lord, even though I am but dust and ashes” Genesis 18:27
    Sometimes we see people asking questions in arrogance. This should be avoided. God does not owe us an explanation. It is only if He wills that we will understand his mystery. Only if we become Jesus friends then His word will be fulfilled – “I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me” John 15:15.
    Let us then seek for understanding with humility.
    Hope you will find answers to your other questions
    In Christ
  • Some of the Catholic Church’s teachings initiated long after the Great Schism (1054). This is mainly the reason that our Church Fathers could not refute them. Here is what I found about the Holy spirit proceeding from the Father and the Son.

    The Filioque Controversy
    The controversy over the Latin word filioque is regarded by scholars as one of the chief factors contributing to the split of the western and eastern churches, which was formalized in 1054 AD. It continues to be the source of bad feeling towards Catholicism in Eastern Orthodoxy today. Although the controversy centers around just one word and a rather abstract issue regarding the Holy Spirit, it causes some theological difficulty for Eastern Christians, but perhaps more importantly, they resent the West's tampering with the ecumenical creeds, which are of great importance in Orthodoxy.
    The filioque controversy centers around the relationship between the Spirit and the other two Persons in the Trinity, the Father and the Son. In Christian theology and creeds, the Son is "eternally begotten" of the Father. This means that the Son is somehow caused or generated by the Father but not created or begotten in a chronological sense, since the two are both eternal. But how to understand the relationship of the Holy Spirit to the Father and the Son? In the Eastern Church, the Spirit is described as proceeding from the Father. Like "begotten," this term both recognizes the Father as the source and indicate an eternal, ongoing relationship. This was the phrase used in the original Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed (381).
    In the Western Church (Catholicism and Protestantism), however, the Spirit is described as proceeding from the Father and the Son. This last phrase, "and the Son," is the English equivalent of the Latin word filioque. The idea that the Spirit proceeds from the Son, which is also known as "Double Procession" is based on the following New Testament passages:
    • John 16:13-15 - Jesus says the Spirit will take what is Jesus' and show it to the disciples
    • Gal. 4:6 - Holy Spirit as "the Spirit of the Son"
    • Rom. 8:9 - Holy Spirit as "the Spirit of Christ"
    • Phil. 1:19 - Holy Spirit as "the Spirit of Jesus Christ"
    • John 14:16, 15:26, 16:7 - Jesus sends the Holy Spirit
    • John 20:22 - Jesus breathes on the disciples and says, "Receive the Holy Spirit"
    Western theologians also find support for the filioque doctrine in the writings of St. Cyril of Alexandria, St. Jerome, St. Ambrose, and especially St. Augustine. The filoque phrase is first recorded as being added to the creed at the Third Council of Toledo (589), and by the 9th century the phrase was routinely used in the Western Church. The attractiveness of this view for Western thinkers is that it emphasizes the relational bond between the three Persons of the Trinity. They sought to preserve the Persons' distinction from one another, but also emphasizing their unity and close relationship.
    However, most of the early Greek church fathers were adamant that the Spirit proceeds only from the Father, and, as seen above, the original 381 Creed reflects this belief. Eastern theologians stress that there must be only one Fount of Divinity within the Godhead, which is the Father. Thus the Son is begotten (gemnesis) of the Father and the Spirit proceeds (ekporeusis) from the Father. For Eastern Christians, the filioque amounts to believing that there are two sources of divinity within the Godhead, which causes all kinds of internal contradictions and tensions, weakens the distinction between Son and Spirit, and depersonalizes the Spirit. They point to the Western term "Spirit of Christ" as a classic example of the way the filioque doctrine blurs the line between the Second and Third Persons of the Trinity.
    However, despite the considerable tension between Greek and Latin thinkers on this issue, some have sought to reconcile the two approaches. St. Augustine, while affirming the filioque, affirmed that the Holy Spirit "principally proceeds" from the Father. Other Latin writers have likewise sought to clarify that they were not teaching two sources of divinity within the Godhead, and the Council of Lyons (1274) stated that "the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, yet not as from two origins but as one origin." Nevertheless, the same Council of Lyons also condemned those who deny the filioque clause and the doctrine remains a significant point of contention between Eastern and Western Churches today. The most recent development is a statement issued by the North American Orthodox-Catholic Consultation on October 28, 2003, which concluded a four-year study on the issue and suggested steps towards unity.
    Protestants generally follow the Catholic doctrine of the filioque. Anglicans, who among Protestants are most closely identified with Catholicism, have generally accepted Double Procession since the 39 Articles, but modern Anglican theologians participating in ecumenical discussions on the subject are often disposed to dropping the filioque from the Creed.
  • Hello my brothers and sisters in Christ,

    + Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen! +

    I think that there are a few key things to this discussion that we should all bear in mind when dealing with anyone from another faith. The topic of where the ideas that mentioned originated from is a bit controversial, and I don't think it would be very beneficial for us to get into it in a short discussion online. Indeed, books have been written on the topic. Usually, as far as I can gather, a well respected person in the Church writes something or speaks something in a sermon, and this is either later expounded on by that person or by others in the generations to come, usually with some additions that don't agree with the person's original mentality. A progressive "warping" thus ensues, which is why a heresy should be of great concern, not simply because of that one heresy which is created, but of the subsequent heresies that find root in it as well.

    The mention of the Filioque as heretical indeed has some foundation; a topic does not have to be dealt with in an "ecumenical" council for it to be considered a heresy. An Eastern Orthodox Patriarch in the 9th century (Photius the First) indeed declared this to be a heresy.

    With that in mind, I think it is only appropriate that you consider the situation in which you are discussing this topic, or any Church topic for that matter. First, strengthen your own faith and your own knowledge of the Orthodox faith; be strengthened in Christ through the apostles, in the writings of the Church Fathers. Truly, when you learn about Orthodoxy and how God has revealed Himself to us, we begin to learn about ourselves and our own roles in the world. Then, in learning about other faiths, one should be respectful of them. Knowing your own faith to be true, and seeing certain facets of others to be different, you will see these differences and find an appropriate manner, if at all, to discuss them. When we are young and just beginning in orthodoxy, we have a tendency to want to go and preach to the world, pointing out the deficiencies of others in the hopes of bringing them to the Truth. These things must be done under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, with the best intent at heart, as well as a great deal of tact. This may not be our calling, so to speak, and now may not be the appropriate time for us to go out and function in this manner.

    For the topic of those who were not born into Orthodoxy, it may be best for you to simply pray for them. I say simply, though it is truly a very powerful display of your love for God's creation, and a reflection of the love of Christ within us. Pray, but don't trouble yourself over things that are beyond your control; God, the Pantocrator, has each individual in the world encompassed by His love, even if they are unaware of it.

    Pray for me and my weakness,
  • I said this to another poster

    You ask, will the heterodox be saved… Why do you worry about them? They have a Saviour Who desires the salvation of every human being. He will take care of them. You and I should not be burdened with such a concern. Study yourself and your own sins… I will tell you one thing, however: should you, being Orthodox and possessing the Truth in its fullness, betray Orthodoxy, and enter a different faith, you will lose your soul forever.

  • mike, the thing is....what if God wants to do that (ie. take care of them) through you or I?

    i am not burdening myself, i am just asking whether i should talk and speak for the truth if i have a chance? and my other 500 questions. :D

    but good advice: to worry about myself and my own sins. you reminded me of what Jesus said about worrying about the peck in my brother's eye and not the log in my own.

    thanks for all your responses....anymore?

  • [quote author=mikeforjesus link=topic=7897.msg102467#msg102467 date=1241187503]
    I will tell you one thing, however: should you, being Orthodox and possessing the Truth in its fullness, betray Orthodoxy, and enter a different faith, you will lose your soul forever.


    Where does this teaching come from?

    Not that I have any interest in changing faiths; I have some specific reasons why I'm not a member of any of many other denominations of Christianity.  But at the same time, aren't Catholics, Lutherans, Baptists, etc., etc., aren't they all our brothers in Christ.

    If we believe a person loses his soul for converting from Coptic Orthodox to (let's say) Baptist, how is it that we believe a Baptist person is saved?

  • George, what mike said is exactly what St Theophan the recluse said (word by word i think).

    and concerning this, (all what i write below is a guess) i think what St Theophan the recluse is trying to say is that you being orthodox have the best chance there is and you have tasted the truth and know that you're belief is right; therefore, if you convert you are leaving the truth with your own will.....if someone is born into a let's say Baptist Church, it is not by their own will.

    Just my thoughts....please please please correct me if i have said anything wrong
  • If they ask you about the faith then it is good and right to tell them about it.

    I have a question? Are we allowed to preach as they do? What are we going to say? unless you join our church you cannot be saved?

    Thats a hard thing to say... and we don't even know if this is right.. because God might save them anyway.. but we know the church gives us assurance of salvation of we live with Christ and take of the sacraments.

    I put it in my mind.. that one day I want to preach

    This is probably your issue and it needs to be discussed.

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