23 August 2008

Papal Authority Essay - Introduction

Here begins a series of articles explaining how I became convinced that the Pope of Rome IS the universal head of the Church and successor to St. Peter, the Vicar of Christ, and the Shepherd of God's flock here on earth. Previously I explained my journey from the Antiochian Orthodox church to Rome, but this particular issue was the biggest one to overcome.

Eastern Orthodox Christians continue their schism from the Holy Catholic Church for many reasons. When I was Orthodox the main points of contention were the "double procession" of the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son, the doctrine of original sin, purgatory, and the immaculate conception of Mary. It wasn't difficult for me as a thinking Christian to jump these hurdles, especially since they are mostly artificial barriers.

The REAL issue that seperates Orthodox from Catholic is that of Papal authority. Orthodox love their independence and autonomy. Maybe that's why many protestants end up in the east first? If you don't like the liberal Greeks, then go to the stricter Russians, or take the middle ground with some Antiochians. Jurisdiction jumping is very common for converts looking for the right fit.

In contrast, Melkites, Ukranians, Ruthenians, Chaldeans, and other Eastern Catholics celebrate their unique identities within the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. They don't drift in and out of "communion" with each other based on intrigue or politics. Their unity comes from connection to the Holy See.

Next time: What does the Bible say?

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