Sdcn.Ephrem wrote:People often treat canonical transgressions as if they were on the same level as heresy. [...]
Abuses are not the reason that the World Orthodox are deprived of grace. There are 'abuses' even in True Orthodoxy, and may God forgive us for them. But abuses aren't the same as heresy. The difference between abuse and heresy is the way we react to reproof from those who are strong in the faith.
If there is repentance, then we are guilty of abuse, and subsequently we must face the consequences. This is where the canons against praying with heretics come into play, for instance. If a priest prays with Jews or heretics out of ignorance or out of fear of persecution, then he is guilty and must be censured in accordance with the canons. Here we have an example of abuse.
Yet, when the priest prays with Jews or heretics because he believes in their impious teachings or gives them sort sort of validity, then he is anathema, completely excluded from the Church. Such is the difference between the abuses [...] and the actual, evident heresy found in the World Orthodox Churches.
Take, for instance, the example of the current Patriarch of Constantinople. He is not a heretic because he broke the canons against praying with Jews and heretics; he is a heretic because he dares to say that the Orthodox and the Catholics are two lungs of the same body. He is not merely worthy of canonical censure; he is under anathema!
Such is the difference between abuse and heresy. Abuse makes us guilty, and so we are punished by the Church. Heresy makes us guilty also, yet when we are stubborn in heresy we are put out of the Church and must answer to God. 'It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.'
Remember that this thread is posted in the public forums, so no polemical statements or conjectures may be made that attack the True Orthodox.
Some important questions to consider:
Can we call another person a heretic or a schismatic? Note that I am not using the phrase "potential heretic." If a person has prayed with heretics, then they themselves are guilty of violating the Holy Canons, and have incurred the anathema.
Doesn't a person have to be condemned by a Synod (Ecclesiastical Court) before they are condemned as a formal heretic or a schismatic?