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18 minutes ago, Anastasia said:

Thank you very much for the link, I have just listened to the whole discussion. The Thomistic argument comes to a life there somehow i.e. it does not feel cold/ inhumane/legalistic as it often happens, something I dread.

It was helpful (although I cannot say I agree about everything) and aided my own thinking. It is also good to see that there are still Roman Catholics who refuse to engage in self-serving hypocrisy.

I hope you'll like this video, too, which I found this week and it gave me renewed reason to refuse face masks.  At least half of these reasons apply to the West as much as to the East, though in the West you won't hear many priests speaking this way.  Obviously being Roman I don't agree with everything in this video, either, but it serves as more than just food for thought:

 

I hope to one day be counted among those Roman Catholics who refuse to engage in hypocrisy.  It's a work in progress for me.  (Just a quick look at the other thread I've been a bit more passionate in reveals as much)

I've always loved the directness and simplicity of Thomism.  For a very long time he was my favorite saint (after the Blessed Mother, of course).  Perhaps that's just my melancholic side.  When I hear it used in this way, it just sounds like truth, and I am reminded of Our Lord in the Gospel: "He who hears the truth hears My voice."

On 12/17/2020 at 2:42 PM, beatitude said:

The problem isn't that the Covid vaccine has been produced too fast. The problem is that other vaccines and medications are generally produced far too slowly, because outside of today's highly unusual circumstances affecting the entire planet, there is rarely sufficient incentive to fast-track them. The process is slower because far fewer people are hired to work on them and less money is put into their development. All vaccines could be available this quickly if only their production was prioritized.

Maybe less money is put into their development because the globalists are taking all of it:

https://fortune.com/2019/01/17/bill-gates-best-investment-vaccines-global-health/

When 1 person makes 190 billion dollars, I don't trust anything they tell us in that field.  There's just too much wealth and power for them to not deceive.

So, yes, the covid vaccine was produced too fast. 

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I think that the vaccination should not be mandatory, because there is a lot we do not know for sure.

If you are standing at the beginning of a bridge and you decide you are unsure if you trust the safety of it's construction, all you can do is share with others your own concern but ultimately let the

ummmm no.  I'm just pointing out that the whole "I'll wait and see what happens to to other people" thing is kind of icky. It sounds bad when you say it. It's not the most Christian sentiment in the w

1 hour ago, fides' Jack said:

I hope you'll like this video, too, which I found this week and it gave me renewed reason to refuse face masks.  At least half of these reasons apply to the West as much as to the East, though in the West you won't hear many priests speaking this way.

I cannot say I like it but it is because of my problems with much of what is coming out of Athos, I am sorry to say. Athos is very diverse though. I do not like when they overdo, in a similar way some Catholic traditionalist overdo so their argument becomes off-putting, unfortunately. Yet I agree that masks in the church look very odd and contrary to the Liturgy.

However, to me it was a minor issue compare to the order of the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church to sanitize a communion spoon after each person. That caused a huge stir and many priest refused to do so perceiving it to be a blasphemy. The Orthodox custom is to use the same Cup and the same spoon for all. In the end a priest or a deacon must finish whatever is left. Hence all deceases are getting into the same Cup and, as many priests stated, if the Holy Communion could pass on illnesses then priests and deacons would not live long - and somehow they were fine after the decades, many are quite plumped and rosy in fact. Yes, I would be shocked if I witnessed such sterilization. And to think of it, all my life I have been receiving communion like that and never thought of some decease! Kissed icons without fear etc. 

As for masks, here is a parody by Russian well-known priest re: masks.

(Translation: he begins with customary for the beginning of a homily "In the Name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit". In the end he says "I wish you to laugh like that at that demons' craft for all your life!")

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41 minutes ago, Anastasia said:

The Orthodox custom is to use the same Cup and the same spoon for all. In the end a priest or a deacon must finish whatever is left. Hence all deceases are getting into the same Cup and, as many priests stated, if the Holy Communion could pass on illnesses then priests and deacons would not live long - and somehow they were fine after the decades, many are quite plumped and rosy in fact. Yes, I would be shocked if I witnessed such sterilization. And to think of it, all my life I have been receiving communion like that and never thought of some decease! Kissed icons without fear etc. 

 

Holy communion is certainly an extraordinary and precious gift. Is your assertion that consecrated wine and bread have a special power to overcome the scientific reality of virology and bacteriology?  If so, do you assert this special power of the consecrated elements also extends to the vessels and physical body of the ministers?

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52 minutes ago, ReasonableFaith said:

Is your assertion that consecrated wine and bread have a special power to overcome the scientific reality of virology and bacteriology?

I can understand why you formulated it this way but it is very different from what I said. Orthodox believe is that one cannot contract an illness via the Body and Blood of Christ, that is all. How it happens we do not know; perhaps "scientific reality" becomes overwhelmed by the reality of the Author of creation. But to me this looks logical. Communion is not just "consecrated bread and wine" as you put it, it is the Person of Christ. If to touch a hem of Christ's cloak was to be healed instantly then to receive Christ Himself is even more so. God = Life cannot give Himself together with decay (illness) attached.

If a priest or a member of a congregation has a flue for example and they sneeze then they can spread illness. But it is an entirely different matter. Again, I have never thought of flue etc. while kissing icons and relics. The common belief is that grace prevails. 

I would like to say in advance that I will not engage in the discussion about "accidents" and their qualities etc. because this way of thinking is alien to an Eastern Orthodox (despite all my appreciation of much in the Roman Catholic Church).

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Here is the document from the US National Library of Medicine about the Orthodox view on the topic
Holy Communion and Infection Transmission: A Literature Review

"Dr Eleni Giamarelou, a prominent Professor of Internal Medicine in the University of Athens, an expert in the area of infectious diseases, stated that "Holy Communion is the greatest mystery of the Orthodox faith that cannot be interpreted through logical reasoning". She also added that those who believe that through the Holy Communion receive the "body and the blood of Jesus Christ" and not simply wine and bread can partake without fearing the coronavirus. She also argued against the use of personal plastic teaspoons. Her opinion has received much criticism from the Greek politics and expert scientists.

Metropolitan Mesogaias Nikolaos has disclosed an interesting statement. The primary goal of science is the discovery of the truth of the created world. Religion’s aim is the disclosure of the truths of God. These will not be achieved if science is dominated by arrogance and religious thoughts by narrowness. He emphasized that interpretation of the Holy Eucharist as a vehicle through which a contagious disease may be transmitted, derives from the lack of faith and the human rationality. "

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21 hours ago, Anastasia said:

Here is the document from the US National Library of Medicine about the Orthodox view on the topic
Holy Communion and Infection Transmission: A Literature Review

"Dr Eleni Giamarelou, a prominent Professor of Internal Medicine in the University of Athens, an expert in the area of infectious diseases, stated that "Holy Communion is the greatest mystery of the Orthodox faith that cannot be interpreted through logical reasoning". She also added that those who believe that through the Holy Communion receive the "body and the blood of Jesus Christ" and not simply wine and bread can partake without fearing the coronavirus. She also argued against the use of personal plastic teaspoons. Her opinion has received much criticism from the Greek politics and expert scientists.

Metropolitan Mesogaias Nikolaos has disclosed an interesting statement. The primary goal of science is the discovery of the truth of the created world. Religion’s aim is the disclosure of the truths of God. These will not be achieved if science is dominated by arrogance and religious thoughts by narrowness. He emphasized that interpretation of the Holy Eucharist as a vehicle through which a contagious disease may be transmitted, derives from the lack of faith and the human rationality. "

Thank you for the clarification of Orthodox belief and the very informative document. 

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IMO, that kind of logic is quite far outside of the sacramental theology I would espouse and at the VERY LEAST no one should be shamed or made to feel like they MUST believe the Eucharist cannot pass diseases, that opinion may be a pious tradition of some believers but I see no doctrinal evidence, and no teachings of the fathers that explicitly say as such, but feel free to correct me if there is a quote from the fathers or teachings of the church (I did not see either in the document, just a personal interpretation attached to a St. John Chrysostom quote which simply mentioned Christ's real presence).  To me, this attitude seems to border on a bit of transgressing on the idea of "thou shalt not test the Lord thy God".  one should never EXPECT the extraordinarily miraculous or the supernatural--expectation of the supernatural is a sign of magical thinking that's antithetical to the attitude we are meant to have as Christians.  we pray and hope for miracles, but we do not control what God will or will not do for us.  we expect to be taken care of by God in the final end of things, even if along the way we may encounter difficulties including diseases or suffering.

Christ's true presence in the Eucharist guarantees that we receive him truly and fully and receive grace through it, yes; what happens with disease or illness is left to the mysteries of divine providence; we may pray for healing from the Eucharist, from other sacraments, or just pray for miraculous healing or protection from illness.  But we cannot take power over God's will and decide for ourselves when, how, and if Christ will heal us.  the woman touching Christ's garment pleading for healing doesn't get automatically healed because she touched Christ's garment--she made a request of the Divine Will and Christ saw her faith and hope and trust in Him and answered it in the affirmative.  she did not jump off a cliff in front of him expecting Him to send angels to fly to her rescue, however.

IMO it is quite possible for diseases to spread through partaking in the Eucharist, and this in NO WAY WHATSOEVER reduces the reality of Christ's real and true presence.

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1 hour ago, Aloysius said:

IMO, that kind of logic is quite far outside of the sacramental theology I would espouse and at the VERY LEAST no one should be shamed or made to feel like they MUST believe the Eucharist cannot pass diseases,

First of all, I do not understand how you came up with a topic of "shame". Even a priest in the video (above) advised those who are afraid to stay home, those who are not afraid to receive  and both groups not to judge each other.

Or consider the address of Archbishop Makarios:

"Since many Christians are asking if the virus is transmitted through Holy Communion, I responsibly assure every faithful person that up until now in the history of our Church there have never been any cases where an epidemic of infectious disease has been transmitted through Holy Communion.

However, the Holy Archdiocese of Australia understands the reservations and insecurities of some people, who refrain from receiving Holy Communion out of a fear that this will cause the transmission of the virus. All those who abstain from receiving Holy Communion during this period of crisis, are certainly not considered to be indifferent to, or opponents of, the faith and the Church. We understand their position and do not desire that, under any circumstances, they fill their conscience with feelings of guilt. Besides, the spiritual life is about freedom without force, it leads to internal joy and peace of the soul only when it has nothing to do with situations that give rise to coercion and pressure.  

What we must emphasize, however, is that according to scientists, the transmission of the virus occurs when we are in close contact with a person who is infected. Therefore, when someone is in Church, even if they have not received Holy Communion, they are in serious danger of contracting the disease and, at the same time, of transmitting this virus to their close family members as well as to other people around them."

https://www.sbs.com.au/language/english/audio/what-does-archbishop-makarios-says-about-holy-communion-and-church-services

1 hour ago, Aloysius said:

she did not jump off a cliff in front of him expecting Him to send angels to fly to her rescue, however.

I agree with you but communion is established by Christ. You receive Him, it was His will and He said that communion is the source of eternal life. It has nothing to do with my own will. I simply believe Him.

As for my personal position. I already said before why I do not believe that communion (Christ) can transmit diseases. However, regardless of that I know I need communion most when I am in a danger. So, even if I was afraid to contract something from a priest or environment (and I was) I still would go for communion.

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I do apologize, I did not intend to insinuate that you or any of the sources you were citing were shaming anyone, it was an unfortunate choice of words when I was simply trying to make the point that even if some people have a pious tradition of believing that the Eucharist does not spread diseases, that is not something anyone must believe as an essential component of believing in the Eucharist or trusting God, it's not something that is necessarily correlated with a belief in the real presence, and if someone thinks diseases can spread through the Eucharistic presence that does not mean someone believes less in the real presence.  I honestly didn't mean to insinuate anyone was shaming anyone, it was more of a preventative statement or a disclaimer for anyone reading that I was throwing out as something we should maybe all agree to at the bare minimum. 

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-------------

anyway, in my opinion sharing a spoon while receiving communion is pretty certainly something that is likely to spread covid.  the studies being cited here or the generalized anecdotes about 'no record of diseases spreading' by communion are, quite frankly, very unconvincing to me.  it would certainly be very difficult to isolate the factors that caused various spreader events in orthodox churches throughout Eastern Europe and Greece and other orthodox countries and churches in the last year, so of course you may simply respond that it didn't spread through the spoon but through other close contact, it's not falsifiable I suppose unless someone really tried to do an in-depth study isolating the variables of who did and didn't go up to communion.

but yeah: my opinion is that it's not accurate or helpful to tell people that there is not a risk factor of covid by sharing cups or spoons from communion.  it is certainly a risk factor, and any methods that are reverent that may mitigate those factors I don't think should be considered a problem for anyone.

Anyway, Anastasia, I hope I have not been too confrontational with you on this issue, this is definitely a controversy that has popped up mainly among the Orthodox -- with Orthodox people coming down on both sides-- and within the Roman Catholic Church my position is more common, it's rather uncommon for Roman Catholics to think of the eucharist as unable to carry viruses or germs, this may be owing to the legacy of Thomistic accidents/substance distinctions in Roman sacramental theology.  But with or without the western accidents/substance kind of thinking, I do disagree with this idea, and here I was trying to explain myself without going into that kind of philosophical categorization (as you asked us to avoid! :D ). 

All we can do is express our opinions and make our own risk assessments though.  I do admire your faith in wanting to receive Our Lord without worrying about risks.

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12 hours ago, Aloysius said:

I was simply trying to make the point that even if some people have a pious tradition of believing that the Eucharist does not spread diseases, that is not something anyone must believe as an essential component of believing in the Eucharist or trusting God, it's not something that is necessarily correlated with a belief in the real presence, and if someone thinks diseases can spread through the Eucharistic presence that does not mean someone believes less in the real presence. 

I actually agree with you that people can believe in the Real Presence yet also can be afraid to get ill because I know Catholic teaching on that matter and also human psyche. To me it looks quite incoherent though so as to the majority of Orthodox believers. 

The Orthodox Church believes that under the appearances of bread and vine we receive the Body and Blood of the resurrected Christ; it refuses to go further. I must correct you, it is not that "some people have a pious tradition of believing that the Eucharist does not spread diseases", it is the whole Orthodox Church. How could people receive otherwise? Nobody forces them.

There were some Orthodox there however who during the time of covid began speculating about that matter. A couple of priests even did "virtual Eucharist" via Skype or something. They told their parishioners to place wine and bread in front of their monitors and did "consecration" (!). To the majority of the Orthodox it was a blasphemy and those priest were promptly prohibited to serve. Some did other, milder things. However, as far as I know, even the wildest thinking has never involved "viruses in the Holy Communion" but only "viruses on a Spoon and a Cup. The argument was about whether Holy Communion, being an all-consuming fire, affects the Spoon and Cup.

Leaving all that aside, as I said before  I firmly believe the the Body and Blood of Christ cannot be a source of an illness. My faith is based on my understanding of Personhood, the Person of the resurrected Christ being present there and I never thought of viruses there. I was concerned that some priest would sneeze at me though (that was hard to overcome). But look, I think if a person believes in the Real Presence and, most importantly, has an experience that tells him that communion is a source of life and an intimate union with Christ he would receive no matter what (it is the Orthodox logic because with Christ there is no fear). For all history of the Church people would receive in danger to withstand the danger so to be afraid to receive in a time of a danger is an inverted logic to me. However, I do not judge anyone who does not share this conviction as long as they do not try to stop me and others from receiving Christ.

During the covid lockdown I have observed a very strange thing noticed by many: takeaways were open but Cathedral was closed. The communion was denied to the faithful because "it can spread virus" (takeaways and supermarkets and bottle shops did not spear viruses apparently). The communion, the source or Life was denied on a  pretext of "a common good". Now people are being offered the vaccines, a large number of them with "abortion material" = death. I see it as a "world communion", a quite potent symbol "partake death and receive health". And, since I am an iconographer, I immediately recalled the icon that depicts Baby Jesus in the communal Cup held by St John the Baptist (here he is depicted as "an angel of the desert thus the wings)

40284771500287656.jpg

A vaccine with "abortion material" then looks like a parody or the world's version of "salvation". I am not saying that it is done deliberately but as we all know, we are "called to rea the signs of times", according to Vatican.

Edited by Anastasia
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