Catholic Syrians Anglicans Intercommunion



Hi there Arokh,

Most Roman dogma is generated from an incident called the counter reformation. When Protestantism broke away from the Catholic Church, the internal reaction was to go in and nail down every truth they believed at the time. Most other religions, including Orthodox Christianity (which never had to face anything like the reformation) have remained much more mystical and self examining without such exact yardsticks. Also some of it comes from the rigidity of the Roman Empire which the Church in the West attempted to replace.

+Bishop Bernie Price

Orthodox Christian



The joy of the Lord be in your heart.

Encountering here and there your expert answers I was frequently tempted to write to you. But it didn’t seem worthwhile because the points made by you could be easily clarified. But I don’t want to react without you knowing it. That’s why I write to you.

I think it is only fair to advice you that at the end of an answer to Arokh about "dogma" I made the following statement:

"PS. You should take the answer from stthomas888 cum grano salis. Sweeping generalizations like that are easy to make but historically unsustainable. Ask him what the Ecumenical Councils did if not "nailing down every (¿?) truth" that was under attack at that time. Or doesn’t he accept these Councils?"

Your post contains an anti-Roman snide remark. It is your privilege to nurture unsympathetic or superior feelings regarding the Roman Catholic Church. But when your offer historical statements that are skewed, to say the least, I will have to reclaim a correction from your side on behalf of historical truth.

I think you should separate your grievances from theological questions, which you are prone to combine both so effortlessly.

Let’s establish a common basis. Are we agreed that the first ecumenical Councils are binding and according to the Spirit of God?

I think that would be a common point of departure for future interchanges.



PS. This is private. I go public only when there is no other way to establish the truth.

If you don’t mind I want to send you an opinion I posted some time ago. Perhaps it clears the air


stthomas888 gave this response on 12/7/2000:

Hi there mscperu,

There is a misunderstanding here.

I am a Catholic as the word was created by St. Ignatius of Antioch. My Patriarch. I have no antagonism cover or overt to the Roman Church as we are to the best of my knowledge the only ritual group that is intercommunal officially (see Vatican Council for docs) with the Vatican and with Canterbury even though they are not yet intercommunal with each other.

The only antagonism that comes into my thoughts is with the Jesuit Order. If you were to read about their events in India, you may be able to see why there might be less that the highest regard for them but they are not the Roman Church despite their primary goal of protecting the Papacy. It is not the Pope of Rome (acknowledged in every Liturgy we celebrate) that is a bone of contention, but the college of Cardinals that replaced the council of Bishops. Check out the last few docs of the American Council of Bishops and their reception in Rome. It was not the Pope that reacted to them but Cardinal Ratzinger. They still got killed.

Yes we accept and believe that the first 7 ecumenical councils were truly ecumenical. That does not mean that they were infallible, since decisions in one are reversed in the next. Check out the conversations regarding Aryanism.

It is unfortunate that you have such a narrow view of what is or is not Catholic.

Roman Catholic has an adjective modifying the noun. How is it that that has never registered? How is it that a Catholic can not know that Rome did not invent the word Catholic?

Your presumption that I am antagonistic to Rome is a slap in the face of Christ who wished for all of His chosen to be One.

Despite your feelings for me I am compelled by the Grace of Him to Bless You.

In the Name of the Holy One, and the Holy Mighty One and the Holy Immortal One.

+Bishop Bernie Price

Orthodox (and Catholic) Christian




Thanks for your answer. It touches different points. If you don’t mind I will look at them in detail.

You first observation comes to the point. There is a misunderstanding regarding the word "Catholic".

I contend that "Catholic" is not equal "Catholic" on the Catholic board.

First of all I’m not affirming that you are not entitled to use the word "catholic". If you are part of an Orthodox Church then you are justified to apply it to your community. You know that the word can express the tenet of Vincent of Lerins’ "by all, everywhere, forever". This takes into account the aspects of universality in time, geography and continuity. The motto is Tradition. You can also apply the word "catholic" to the entire and incorrupt teaching. The Roman Catholic Church recognizes that in the Orthodox Churches. That’s why we have intercommunion, i.e., we accept mutually the sacraments administered. You can apply the word "Catholic Church" only to those who have an established sacramental hierarchy. Look at the document "Dominus Jesus".

But you imply that I suggest Rome pretends to have invented the word. You suggest at the beginning of Christianity the word "Catholic" has nothing to do with the Church of Rome or that the Popes relation with Catholicism at least narrows the perception it originally had. I beg to differ. The Pope has been involved from the beginning regarding the whole Church. Can you remember that Clement wrote a strong letter to the Church of Corinth with an inherent authority as someone who has the right and the duty to talk to that faraway "Catholics"? Remember an other incident when there was a dispute regarding the date of celebrating Easter the Pope threatened excommunication. Irenaeus wrote a letter and went to Rome in order to argue that the oriental Churches had a different tradition. Irenaeus presided the Eucharistic celebration even if he could not reach consent with the Pope. But there was never a doubt about the Pope having the right and the duty to intervene. That's in the second century. So please you can't imply that the successor of Peter was not acknowledged. And what about the expression: "the Church presiding en charity"? And what about the papal delegates in the Ecumenical Councils?

By the way, I can’t understand how your community is able to have the "intercommunicatio in sacris" with Canterbury. I suppose you are talking of the Anglican Church because the Catholic Church has an Archbishop there too. The Anglicans have accepted the ordination of women. Many of the Anglican priests (and some Bishops) are entering the Catholic Church because they believe that women's ordinations are against immemorial Church practice and not according to Christ's will. I can’t imagine that your Patriarch countenances this. Several Ecumenical Patriarchs have stated clearly the incompatibility of women's ordinations with true doctrine. But that is not the point in question. It's about the word "Catholic".

Let's come to the point why I wrote to you asking for being more precise in your affirmations and abstain from sweeping statements that are at least possibly misleading.

I want to state that on this board "Catholic" is perceived as "Roman Catholic". Generally those who ask questions on this board expect "Roman Catholic" answers even they be non-Catholics. I will post a question on the board to find out if I’m right in affirming this. So that’s why I suggest that every expert on this board should state clearly if he is "Roman Catholic" or comes from an other denomination. This way those asking will know at once who is expertizing. If he-she is not in communion with Rome this will be duly noted. So you see Catholic doesn't equal automatically Catholic. I repeat, I welcome other denomination's expertise but it should be clearly stated that this is no a Roman Catholic expert. It's not about your Catholicism; it's about the perception of Catholicism on this board.

I would like to go even further. Personally I think it is impossible to give exclusively "objective" advice. Well, you can give historical facts or describe teachings but you should not give the bare bones. Everything related with Catholicism is related with life eternal. There should be con occasion of an answer at least some insinuation of the underlying reasons or some testimony of faith, a hint of the "new evangelization". We are talking about faith. Remaining in the sheer realm of objectivity cripples the mandate "and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age" (Mt 28, 20 NIV). Now suppose that a Roman Catholic expert is giving "right" answers. Suppose his life is a contradiction to his answers. I suggest that sooner or later that will show in the way he answers.

Let me give you an example. A homosexual person, who practices, even if he-she gives the answers according to the Catholic Catechism of the Church, will betray him or herself when giving counsel regarding a concrete situation. Please, get me right. That doesn’t advocate that the experts have to be immaculate. In that case nobody could write here. But a permanent practiced lifestyle in open contradiction to the Church’s doctrine should at least make that expert feel very uncomfortable in answering a type of question that he-she doesn't live. So he-she should refrain. This is not a moral judgment. Only God has that right. But we can judge words or deeds without entering the territory of intention. Especially personal conflictive situation consulted on the board get then according answers that are not right. How can you advocate chastity and live otherwise?

Coming back to our question about "Catholicism" I think that generally those who ask are under the impression that they are asking "Roman Catholic" experts. So it’s a question of perception not of theology if you have the impression that I narrow the concept of the word "Catholic".

You say that it is not the Pope of Rome that is "the bone in contention". The expression denotes dogs fighting about a bone. (Do you try again to be picturesque or is your feeling colorizing your language?). If you read with attention all the documents that emanate from the Dicasterium of Faith (and from all other dicasteria) than you would read that the Pope every time gives the order of publication and so on. Even the date of the audience is annotated. Your sweeping affirmations get you into trouble. Again: picturesque or translucent feelings?

Then you go on writing something blatantly erroneous. You state, "the college of Cardinals [that] replaced the council of Bishops". Here we have an other of your unwarranted facetious sweeping affirmations. Is it the produce of incorrect information or just the consequence of some type of dislike? I can't possible surmise that you want to mislead intentionally! That's why I surmise that there was some bias.

Please consider, the mission of the College of Cardinals regards only the election of the Pope. Imagine all the Bishops of the world reunited to elect the new Pope! Regarding doctrine the Church celebrates the Ecumenical Councils. Additionally every once in a while the Pope calls for a reunion of a Synod in order to consult about matter of teaching and morals. The members are the delegates of the entire world's Episcopal Conferences. The pertinent presidents of the Dicasteria together with some experts are selected by the Pope so that they may participate. The cardinals have not replaced the Bishops! Am I right reclaiming that you commit gross errors? Why?

Regarding the role of the Dicasteria you should understand that they are helping the Pope to do his work. There is always a dialogue as it has been in the Church since Acts 15. Besides Peter has to confirm his brethren and he has a responsibility regarding the whole Church (Lk 22, 32; John 21:15). The Dicasterium of Liturgy has emanated a document regarding the celebration of the Mass. It won't be official until the Bishops' Conference has offered its suggestions and corrections. The dialogue works in both directions!

Look for instance at the problem with the Bishops of Germany. The German Catholic Church was involved in counseling those women who were pregnant and wanted to abort. By law the government only accepted an abortion after participating in such counseling. If these women wanted an abortion they had to show the certificate that they had received the counseling. Seemed a good way to help those women. But the Pope wrote them two letters in order to suggest that the Church get out from this because the certificate was cooperation with the abortion even be it remote. It brought about a change. The Bishops accepted after a long debate that the Pope was right. (Your picturesque expression "they got killed" is a very imprecise and careless if it is not a snide remark). Again a problem of perception? Does your Patriarch "get you killed" when he proffers you a correction and you heed his advice?

Would you please specify what documents of the US Bishops you are referring to? There was a problem was in the US the participation of religious personal in clinics that offered abortion. Some of them even supported it. Thank God for the Pope who directed the religious superiors to put their foot down. Don't you put your foot down when the commandments of the Lord are willfully disobeyed?

I'm glad that you accept the Ecumenical Councils. But as you are wont you make one more of your sweeping suggestions. You are implying that the doctrine and the dogmas of the Councils are not infallible. Does your Patriarch accept that? The degrees regarding faith are the basis why all the Ecumenical Patriarchs are in communion.

"It is unfortunate that you have such a narrow view of what is or is not Catholic."

If it is not a problem of perception as explained above then you should please specify what you mean.

And I'm astounded that you put the faith(s) based on revelation on the same level as other religions? I hope it was a lapsus linguae, an involuntary error.

"Your presumption that I am antagonistic to Rome is a slap in the face of Christ who wished for all of His chosen to be One." I'm glad that there is no antagonism from your side. Then why these flippant remarks which are obviously disrespectful? And why these across-the-board pronouncements which are erroneous? Who is slapping?

So again I beg you to be more careful and refrain from sweeping observations that at best are imprecise and at worst are plain misleading errors. Analyzing your own words makes it obvious. This type of expertise is pernicious. That’s why I wrote to you.

Finally, have I anywhere in my post used expressions that imply that your are blessing an enemy? What kind of feelings on my side are you surmising? If my post seems to judge you personally I ask you to forgive me. But I preferred surmise some bias and not intentional deception!



PS. Are you Pahayakuttukar or Puthankuttukar?

Addendum of professor 1000



Professor1000 gave this response on 12/9/2000:

Dear Father, I am in agreement with your position. However, we should not say Roman Catholic since the Roman part only refers to the ritual. We should say Catholic and to specify say that means all who are in full communion with Rome, i.e. Roman Catholic, Byzantine Catholic, Maronite Catholic etc. By full communion with Rome we mean joined in one faith with the Roman Pontiff.

I would find it difficult to join a Fundamentalism Board if there were one, because although I am knowledgeable about fundamentalists I am not one and do not consider myself to be an expert in that field.

In the past some on this board have felt that they are experts because they know about Catholicism. I also think that most people know that not everyone answering here is Catholic in communion with Rome. I do not believe that at this time there is anyone masquerading on the board as at one time there was. I do urge the questioners to check the credentials of the respondents -- everyone, I think, is very clear there whether they are Catholic or not. It would be rather superfluous to have to mention one's Catholic background every time one answered a question here.


Addendum de Graham3


I would like to bring to your attention the information from an Englishman who has first hand experience regarding Anglicanism.



graham3 gave this response on 12/9/2000:

Hello Father

From my experience the vast majority of questions I have answered either on the board or privately have required a Catholic answer discounting of course the shoal of time wasters we were forced to deal with several months ago.

With all honesty if I needed Catholic information I would expect to find it on a Catholic Board. I would not go to an Anglican board for it.

Being in England whose official Religion is Anglicanism we see the need for differentiation at close quarters. What many don’t realize is that The Church of England is governed by the Sovereign and that the "bishops" are appointed by the Prime Minister. This is what makes the Anglican Church so difficult to understand to many people especially Catholic countries. They see a church that is so broad that each parish is totally different than its neighboring ones. Often congregations change with the vicar. If the incoming vicar is deemed to "high/low" church the congregation sack him or find another parish.

The Fact is that many of its ministers don’t accept that they are priests, merely elevated laymen which is correct. On the other hand you get the catholic wing where you will find the Old Tridentine Mass still being celebrated either in Latin or in English.

The Book of Common prayer gives Anglicans the right to believe or not believe what they want to. It also states that its ministers are not priests.

You can than understand English Catholics disbelieve when the Anglicans and The Roman Catholic church could contrive to reach "substantial agreement" in the ARCIC documents that were forwarded to Rome. Fortunately Rome sent them back again.

This was when I was surprised to read of Intercommunion with both Rome and Canterbury.

As long ago as Paul VI Canterbury were warned by The Holy Father that should they continue along the trail to ordaining women priests they would endanger further discussion re unity.

Therefore I would suggest that it is not possible for a body claiming to be in union with The Pope and Rome to be in communion with the Anglican Church also.

As to the Wording Roman Catholic: That is a phrase used in England to Differentiate members of the Catholic Church from Members of the Anglican catholic church. Catholics generally refer to themselves as just that, Catholic,

Unfortunately there are small sects springing up who are calling themselves such names as "The jumping up and down evangelical catholic church" Such groups may force us to use the term Roman Catholic even though over here and in other countries it is considered incorrect.

As a percentage of Catholic questions I have answered 90 - 95%

(From a second posting)

It puzzled me when I first came on this board as to why non Catholics would want to be on a Catholic board and I still don’t know the answer. But If they are on the board I feel they should make it quite clear that they are or maybe supplying a non catholic viewpoint. The danger of that though is that the questioner often only seems to read the nearest reply rather than check them all.

I think it is a valid point that you cannot be in communion with both Rome and Canterbury. Especially now Canterbury is moving even further away from its former position. Here in England we cannot understand how The Catholic Church can hope to be in Communion with a Church that accepts Abortion, contraception, divorce, homosexuality etc But that once again brings us back to the Anglican Phenomenon for many Anglicans don’t accept the teachings of their church, God bless them.

God Bless




The question of "intercommunality" obviously is not under your authority.

Could I have the address of your Patriarch in order to consult him about the "inctercommunicatio in sacris"?

Thank you




ted7 gave this response on 12/10/2000:

I personally don't mind the Orthodox coming here as experts, since they have no where else to go, though they are kidding themselves about the Pope - how many Eastern Patriarch's were heretics, and by whose power were they removed? Anybody?

And I don't even mind the Anglo-Catholics, though I also think they are kidding themselves... they LEFT the Apostolic Church when they declared the King their Head, they are not just in schism. But what the hey.

But I do agree that people come here looking for ROMAN Catholic answers. That’s just common sense. And since people come here BECAUSE they are confused by the distortions of Catholic teachings in the world at large ('but you worship Mary don't you? Everyone says so...') it does not help to have people advocating non-Catholic positions here on the grounds that one or another of the ancient churches may have been understood to have once said something different to Rome, as they understand it.



In exercising supreme, full, and immediate power in the universal Church, the Roman pontiff makes use of the departments of the Roman Curia which, therefore, perform their duties in his name and with his authority for the good of the churches and in the service of the sacred pastors.




stthomas888 gave this response on 12/16/2000:

Hi there,

sorry I was away so long many Apostolic Blessing to handle this time of year. It is through the Patriarch that we are intercommunal with the Vatican (check docs re H.H. Zaka Iwas in Vatican Library) and through the "Mother Church" in India that agreements were made with Canterbury. Dreadfully sorry my brevity offends so. It is not intended to. Personally I find church politics to be an embarrassment to the intentions of Christ as expressed in the New Testament. Of the 14 Oriental Patriarchs, I feel blessed to be under the one "who has outgrown" politics and is more concerned with a united Christianity.

Bless you,

+Bishop Bernie,

Orthodox Christian



Thank for your answer.

I would be grateful if you could give me the address of your Patriarch.




stthomas888 declined to answer on 12/20/2000:

Have referred him to Vatican Library (I think twice) this man is simply taking a simple statement a applying it to the extremes.


+Bishop Bernie





 Where come these questions from?