Thursday, February 19, 2015

Ash envy among our separated brethren


Memento, homo, quia pulvis es, et et in pulverem reverteris.

Liturgical Protestants doing ashes? Great! Anything that brings them closer to us, like how at Advent and Christmas many Americans put up statues of Jesus and Mary, light candles, and sing in Latin. They want to come home and may not know it. Have a happy and holy Lent.

That said, the Episcopalians, priests male and female nicely dressed in our clerical choir attire (cassock, surplice, and stole: for about the past 150 years they have loved our traditions; Catholic liberals don't), were at my city train station to horn in on Catholic roll-call day (it's not a holy day of obligation but might as well be) and market themselves as the cool version of our church with their "Ashes to Go." That crosses a line but it's a free country. Thank God they're not the state church here, their real reason to exist.

I know the point of the smudge is humility, not a Catholic pep rally, but anyway.

From Gabriel Sanchez: The Orthodox, never ones to miss a chance to proudly display their inferiority complex, have taken to social media to protest... Ash Wednesday. Of all the anti-Catholic convert rubbish. I'd bet you a ruble or a pre-euro drachma that born Orthodox didn't do that; they're just happy being name-the-ethnicity, not trying to put us down.

Either he or Owen White once wrote that Forgiveness Vespers in American Orthodox parishes is a recent invention, like the Sunday-school procession with icons the first Sunday of Lent. Like chotki (it looks like the rosary) it's really a monastic thing unknown among ordinary people in Orthodox countries. It's nice; I'm not knocking it like they are trying to knock Ash Wednesday. (I'd love it if American Catholicism were mostly Byzantine, not Novus Ordo, but that's not happening.) But that's interesting. Like how Hanukkah became American Jewish Christmas. A cultural accident.

P.S. Catholic and called to be Byzantine but there is no Greek Catholic church for you to go to? If you're in a big enough American city, you have options.

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