Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Facebook slugfest with convertodox and OicwRs


Some Orthodox converts are nice of course. Jumped into the Facebook chatter again when probably a sincere Catholic inquirer asked about the OicwR status symbol of venerating Fr. Alexis Toth, who left the church because of real mistreatment and whom the OCA canonized.
Opener: On what basis is Alexis Toth considered a saint in Orthodoxy? He and his fellow Eastern Catholics were put in a bad spot for sure, but is his canonization based on his (coerced?) return to Orthodoxy and subsequent preaching to other ECs? What traits did he have that make him worthy of imitation?

OicwR 1: He stood up for our tradition and our faith. He is wildly popular among Ruthenian Catholics, especially in Minneapolis, as well.

Another Catholic: Can Eastern Catholics in good conscience venerate him, also?

Moderator: There is nothing to stop anyone from venerating any reposed pious person.
That's true.
Another inquirer: Why would Eastern Catholics venerate a saint who *left* the Catholic Church? Is he [Alexis] a saint simply because he led thousands of Eastern Catholics away from Rome?
Nice Orthodox convert: A man (who shall remain nameless) went nuts on me on another forum because I have an icon of St. Maximillian Kolbe, a Catholic priest who died in Auschwitz.
Privately you may venerate anyone. Just like we give born Orthodox the benefit of the doubt, giving us that is an option for Orthodox; privately you may venerate St. Maximilian, says your church. Rite controls what you do in church; devotion is free.
"For example, why would Eastern Catholics venerate a saint who *left* the Catholic Church?"
They shouldn't! And the Slavic ones I've known didn't.
"Is he [Alexis] a saint simply because he led thousands of Eastern Catholics away from Rome?"
Pretty much. As far as I know, there was no popular cultus of Fr. Toth among the Ruthenian-American descendants of ex-Catholics who make up most of the OCA; he's not a miracle worker or the equivalent of Padre Pio, for example. The canonization seems a political move: anti-Catholic, pure and simple. Which doesn't excuse Archbishop Ireland causing the schism by mistreating Fr. Toth, nor does it mean that after Fr. Toth died he was condemned by God, but yes.

There's "defending our traditions," which Catholics who choose the unlatinized option do without schism, and then there's confusing the traditions with the whole church. Canonizing Fr. Toth, in my view, does the latter. A bit of ethnocentrism that wears thin after about three generations in America. The Slavic kids move away or marry out; Orthodoxy's Baba's church.
Nice Orthodox convert: So a question for you, John Beeler: how do you think reunification will happen? Because I peeked at your wall and you made a comment to the effect that Greeks and Russians are essentially Catholic and will "come back into the fold"...were you being serious???
Absolutely serious, Suzanne. Because we believe you and we share the essentials: God, Christ, Trinity, hypostatic union, Mother of God, bishops, the Mass, and the option of images. How would union happen? As we see it, all you'd have to do is agree with us that the Pope's office, not the man, shares in the church's charism of infallibility. That's the only real difference.
Suzanne the nice Orthodox convert: I think this belief shows a lack of understanding of early church history, say from 100AD to 1054AD. The history of Christianity is one of multiple Patriarchs. So to assume that ANY of the Orthodox churches are going to just up and stop that to become Roman Catholic is unrealistic. I am still thinking that Pope JP 2 has it most clearly in view when he says the phrase about 2 lungs in one body of the church. Each lung is still its own organ, but the hope is they work together.

We SHOULD attempt to take John seriously, and to try to see if he is just not aware if the history of both churches (which stood
SIDE BY SIDE BY SIDE AS EQUALS for close to 1,000 years). Not every Roman Catholic is a bigot. Some are unaware. Not every Eastern Orthodox is an asshole, some of us want to love and grow closer to our RC brethren. So on that note I will sign off for the night and go say my prayers with my RC hubby....who would be fabulous even if he were a Protestant....lol
Ex-Catholic Orthodox who goes to a high-Anglican church Sunday morning because he likes it better and believes in only four ecumenical councils: Yes, John hits the truth. Bow down and worship the bishop of Rome and his office, that is all Rome asks.
Stuart Koehl, the doyen of OicwRs: I'm not particularly fond of the recent trend of awarding sainthood to the Bishop of Rome in the same manner that the U.S. military gave out air medals in the Vietnam War. "He was Pope, so of course he must be a saint"--which just about sums up everything I find objectionable in Catholic ecclesiology.

John is always converting FROM something. It impels him to denigrate the confessions from which he has fled to justify his new allegiance. It's rather sad, really.
Deflect and distract: he's conflating the trend of canonizing recent Popes, which I object to, with our teaching about the papacy; strawman.

Whether the quote in bold fits his characterization I'll leave up to you.

It's an old tactic. An OicwR old lady on Facebook 'doxing with her fingers crossed tried it.

A good friend, a Ukrainian Catholic by choice who as far as I know is not particularly latinized and is 100% Catholic theologically:
Nearly a decade ago I interacted online with another one of this ilk, an Evangelical Protestant who became a Roman Catholic in the '80s and went on to do a graduate Theology degree at [a theologically conservative Catholic college], and then discovered Byzantine Catholicism around 2004. He was as intellectually "insistent" (for lack of a better word) as Stuart in his views, but, unlike Stuart [not anymore], of a strongly passive-aggressive bent — e.g., when pushed to defend his views he would end up with "clearly you have 'spiritual issues' to deal with, and so I refuse to discuss this topic with you. I hope you find the help you need" (or words to that effect).
That's the game: defend the magisterium and you're Archbishop Ireland and/or pathological.

Of course everything on the Internet is true (#bonjour). Inquirers about Greek Catholicism would be better off with word of mouth from a good Catholic on which resources to go to.

5 comments:

  1. Which facebook group is the discussion happening on? Thanks.

    Anthony

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    Replies
    1. "Catholic & Orthodox: Steps Towards a Reunited Church." This discussion.

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  2. It seems an Internet myth about the Christian East in America, spread by OicwRs and maybe some Orthodox, that Fr. Toth is a folk hero among Greek Rite Slavs here: Ukrainian and Ruthenian Catholics just busting to be Orthodox and chafing against those stupid Romans, and of course his congregations, which became the bulk of the OCA.

    In 30 years of being well acquainted with such Slavs I've not found this so among either group. Neither side much remembers this split, over a century ago. The Chornock one is still barely in living memory; ACROD seems to be hellenizing now. The good side to all that: born Orthodox feel they have little to prove so they aren't that hostile to the church. Catholics understandably don't keep the memory of a man who left the church. The Ruthenians in the OCA think they're Russian: they love St. Seraphim of Sarov, et al. They don't much think about their real origins. There isn't even a huge cultus of St. Herman of Alaska; the OCA wanted the prestige of canonizing someone so his story was plucked from relative obscurity among the Russian Orthodox Aleuts and Tlingit Indians of Alaska, as they later picked Fr. Toth's from history.

    St. Peter the Aleut is fictitious; tsarist Russian propaganda. No good evidence, and Spanish priests wouldn't have been that ignorant or stupid. If he were real, the church says his torturers would have been wrong.

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  3. Sort of like St. Photius. He perhaps doesn't really deserve to have a schism named after him, and folks "in the know" say he was one of the greatest scholars of the time; okay, fine.

    But where's the heroic sanctity? Even if though I accept some other Catholics have a devotion to him, I don't understand it.

    Contra Toth, at least Photius died in union with Rome.

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