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Catholic theology is the ongoing academic reflection upon and speculation upon the doctrines of the Catholic Church, both of the Eastern Catholic Churches and the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church.


Differences between Eastern and Western traditions

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The Eastern Catholic Churches have as their theological, spiritual and liturgical patrimony the traditions of the Christian East. Thus, there are differences in emphasis, tone and articulation of various aspects of Catholic theology, East and West.


St. Augustine

The primary patristic theologian of the Western Church, St. Augustine of Hippo whose influence advance such theological concepts as Original Sin and Ex opere operato has had little influence on the Christian East making for differences in Baptismal theology, Marian theology and Sacramental theology. Likewise, medieval Western scholasticism, that of Thomas Aquinas in particular, which was largely based on Augustine also had little reception in the East.

Marian Doctrines

While Eastern Catholics respect papal authority, and largely hold the same theological beliefs as Roman Catholics, Eastern theology differs on specific Marian beliefs.

Assumption of Mary

The traditional Eastern expression of this doctrine is the Dormition of the Theotokos which emphasizes her falling asleep to be later assumed into heaven. The differences in these observances is for some Eastern Catholics superficial.[1] However, many Roman Catholics object to this doctrine.

Immaculate Conception

The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is a teaching of Eastern origin but is expressed in the terminology of the Western Church.[2] Original Sin as defined by St. Augustine of Hippo is a Western concept, so its absence is not an Easern expression. However, Eastern Catholics recognized from ancient times that Mary was preserved by God from sin. Eastern Catholics while not observing the Western feast, have no difficulty affirming it or even dedicating their churches to the Virgin Mary under this title.[3]

  1. http://www.east2west.org/doctrine.htm#dormition Comparison of the Assumption and the Dormition of Mary
  2. http://www.east2west.org/doctrine.htm#IC Explanation of the Immaculate Conception from an Easern Catholic perspective
  3. http://www.assumptioncatholicchurch.net/ Many Eastern Catholic churches bear the titles of Latin Rite doctrines such as the Assumption of Mary.

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