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18-04-2010, 08:55 PM,
Yes, John, Rome is, in terms of Canon Law and Authority, much clearer and more precise. Some would see this is an advantages, some would see it as unnecessarily technical and legalistic.

Although the Coptic Orthodox Church accepts three Ecumenical Councils, it also accepts a number of Regional Councils and Canons of the Fathers, as well as some canonical compilations and nomocanons from its own tradition. The difficulty is that there is no official and authoritative definition of what these are! Even with regard to the three Ecumenical Councils, the Coptic canonical commentaries have used versions of the canons which are different in significant ways (and in the numbers of canons accepted) to those accepted by the other Orthodox Churches. For example, the important work, ?The Lamp of Darkness? (Misbah al-Zulmah, fi Idah al-Khidmah) by Ibn Kabar (Abu al-Barakat)(d.1324), dating from about 1320, includes a chapter, ?Catalogue of the Canons Received and Councils Transmitted?, which lists the canons accepted in the Coptic Church from the Canons of the Apostles to the work of Al-Safi ibn al-Assal. Al-Safi ibn al-Assal?s work has - or had in 1238 - an official status, and Coptic civil law at least has been based on it. It includes in its list of canons those of the First of the Great Councils: Nicaea (Al-Safi includes three lists: 19, 20 and 30 canons)[compared with 20 canons in the Eastern Orthodox version]. It also includes a Second Book (purporting to be additional canons of Nicaea attributed to ?the Malachites? and said to be ?accepted by the Jacobites and the Syrians?), containing 80 canons, which is quoted by Ibn Kabar from the work of Al-Safi ibn al-Assal and a further Four Books (purporting to be additional canons of Nicaea attributed to the Melchites, containing four parts containing 180 canons, which Ibn Kabar also quotes from the work of Al-Safi ibn al-Assal). The Fourth Book purports to be additional canons of Nicaea, ?written during the Great Council?, containing 26 canons.

Yes, clerical celibacy is clearly a disciplinary question for Rome. Not only do the Eastern Churches have married clergy, but married ex-Anglican clergy have been received and ordained in the USA and Australia and, I assume, the UK.

Whether the ordination of women is formally accepted as a dogmatic, rather than a disciplinary, issue in Rome is difficult to know ? different theologians have argued for different positions. The Papal decision did not determine this, it merely stated that no further discussion was to be permitted on the question!

Yes, Pope Shenouda has much greater power and authority in practice than Pope Benedict.

As to abortion and birth control: the Coptic position on the latter is now clearly different to that of Rome in that it is not only allowed by positively encouraged for the purposes of rational family planning. On abortion the Coptic position is less precise. It is clearly forbidden under any circumstances in which it is a form of birth control, but may be permissible in the situation, for example, in which the life of the mother is gravely endangered. Several very traditional Coptic Priests told me that the mother must confess and receive absolution prior to the termination of the pregnancy, and agree to have another child as soon as possible thereafter. I have never seen this in written sources.

Fr Gregory

Messages In This Thread
Authority - John Charmley - 17-04-2010, 08:49 PM
[] - Fr Gregory - 18-04-2010, 06:02 AM
[] - John Charmley - 18-04-2010, 07:26 AM
[] - Fr Gregory - 18-04-2010, 08:55 PM
[] - John Charmley - 18-04-2010, 10:04 PM
[] - John Charmley - 21-04-2010, 04:51 PM
[] - Fr Gregory - 22-04-2010, 07:02 AM
[] - John Charmley - 22-04-2010, 05:38 PM

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