Sunday, May 10, 2015

Catholicism and Orthodoxy again, and more

  • Church: East/West again. Patriarch (unofficially, but OK) Sviatoslav is entitled to his opinion about state churches. Of course the Catholic Church as well as the Orthodox Church has been a state church, our churchmen preferring that arrangement before Vatican II. Religious freedom has worked well in America for Catholics and Orthodox so I like it. DMD is right of course that the only real difference between the sides is the scope of the Pope. Of course we approach church unity differently. As a good Orthodox, he seems to ask us, "Why not drop your claims about the Pope and just come into the church, as we have open arms, even being willing to recognize your orders?" (Essentially the nice, ecumenical Orthodox view.) My line is: Why do you think the Pope's claims threaten your perfectly good customs? I don't see cause and effect there. I'm sure every Eastern Catholic churchman who's worked with DMD's brother Fr. Dutko on ecumenism agrees on this: we are to blame for the split in America. Cum Data Fuerit was a horrible mistake. It was within the church's authority to do, but not about doctrine so I can criticize it. Again, not about doctrine: not the Pope's fault. The Orthodox want us to drop half our defined doctrine; I say everything EXCEPT our doctrine is negotiable. Save Eastern customs in North America, including married priests? Parish ownership of property? It's a deal. I don't think the official dialogue is anywhere near that, but let's keep talking. I'd make you that bonafide offer. As for high-church/low-church, as a former Episcopalian who considers the Novus Ordo low-church, I hear you. That said, my line is mother church offers both latinized (which many born Greek Catholics are by choice, and have been for centuries) and unlatinized options for the Byzantine Rite. As DMD notes, Orthodoxy has a high-low spectrum too. Realistically I see a perpetual standoff between Catholicism and Orthodoxy.
  • In England last month: Hundreds of priests in the UK gathered in the city of Bath to learn how to say the traditional Latin Mass.
  • My feelings about the Beatles are mixed. Talented, and just another catchy pop band from the late golden era, at first. (Paul McCartney did a mean Little Richard impression.) But I hate their effect on the culture. Anyway, George Harrison was the only Catholic in the group; he'd quit by the time they were a group. To give him credit (and he wrote some very good songs, classics), that somebody so manifestly spiritual quit the church should make us ask ourselves some questions. (He ended up a Hare Krishna, technically not the same as a Hindu [it's Westernized], in all but name.)
  • Roissy: The egonomics of bitterbitches: Yes, homely skanks are using Tinder to get attention. No, not from desirable men.
  • Pickup-artist (PUA) websites in a nutshell (at least Roissy; I'm not a PUA). Here it is, good and bad: Society's messed up now. Nice guys (betas) had it better in 1960; then ordinary guys and girls were glad to have each other. The sexual revolution and feminism messed things up so now it's happy hunting for manly jerks (alphas) and unlimited social climbing for girls, while most nice guys don't get sex. Guys, want to have sex? Here, simply put, are truths about female human nature you can use to change your behavior to get it. P.S. Mainstream relationship advice is garbage, worse than useless. Act all caring and offer to share the housework, and girls won't take you seriously. (Why do so many girls dump their nice-guy husbands after five years or so? And women start most divorces.)

27 comments:

  1. Orthodoxy objects to the Pope because the Orthodox Churches as institutions are the creation of Byzantine Emperors, later sustained by various Caliphs, Sultans, Tsars & petty princes in order to prevent the Catholic Church from limiting the authority of said various monarchies. Henry VIII type stuff, only with a greater devotion to preserving the basic validity of the faith. Not fakedty-fake (yet) but still compromised. I take the same view as you do: everything but doctrine is on the table in an effort to get the Orthodox to renounce the spirit of schism and accept the full authority of God's holy Catholic Church. But the twin evils of pride and ethnocentrism, along with some vestigial emperor-yearning, make reconciliation unlikely.

    A devotion to one's kith and kin is not an evil when balanced with a healthy universal identity. There is a difference between patriotism and nationalism though, not just in politics but in religion as well. To be Irish is a fine thing, but to be Irish to the point of rejecting the authority instituted by Christ would not be so. Same with the Russians, the Greeks, etc. No problem with separate rites, as you point out, there are many separate ethnic rites in the Catholic Church already. But when ethnicity becomes an excuse for the sin of schism and disunity, then take a pass.

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  2. "along with some vestigial emperor-yearning, make reconciliation unlikely"

    The Orthodox Church's appreciation for the sacred Orthodox Catholic Monarchy puts Orthodoxy closer to the ancient Church, which likewise appreciated and preserved the sacred monarchical concept, than the official Roman Catholic support of democratic political pluralism, which had no eccesial sanction in the early Church.

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    1. Blogger, this is true really only of the Byzantine Orthodox, not Oriental Orthodoxy, which tended to be on the receiving end of persecution from Byzantine "Orthodox" monarchies. Outside of Ethiopia and Armenia (neither of which ever reached empire status), none of the Oriental Orthodox have ever been state church, and since their traditions tend to be far more ancient than those of Byzantium, I would perhaps take exception to your statement that "appreciation for the sacred Orthodox Catholic Monarchy puts Orthodoxy closer to the ancient Church" as anything more than Byzantine imperialism.

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    2. Dale,

      I was speaking of the monarchical concept in general, not the Eastern Roman Empire, particularly. It is interesting to note that the liturgical tradition of the Oriental Orthodox Churches preserves the rites of consecration of monarchs, as does the Orthodox Church, and as did the Roman Catholic Church (until 1961). This shared liturgical heritage affirms the ancient Church's embrace of monarchy, not political pluralism. Catholicism's rejection of monarchy in place of representative government is a loss of the ancient Church's understanding of the relationship between Church and State, which is still officially preserved in the Worship of the Orthodox Church.

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    3. I'd like to point out that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was anointed in probably the last and only really Catholic Coronation service of the 20th century. The ceremonies go back, in essentials, to those drawn up by St Dunstan in the 10th century. Now, what that portends for the future, who can say? But I sincerely doubt that it will be possible to take place again in its present form. The abolition of the Monarchy in the UK will be the symbol of the triumph of secularism over the Church, the last connexion to the Christian past severed.

      Royal Unction is a Sacrament by the way.

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    4. Blogger, but when one considers that until recently, monarchy, was virtually the only form of government in the west and the east, this would make perfect sense, but to then surround monarchy with some mystical, pretend theological reality is problematic. Switzerland has always been a peasant republic, and a very successful one by the way, yet in several Kantons Roman Catholicism was and is the state religion. Of course you sound like you would be overjoyed with the Syllabus of Errors, which did indeed attack democracy as anti-Christian.

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  3. M.D.,

    You assume that Orthodoxy exists because of pride and ethnocentrism. You are entitled to your opinion. However, do you have objective research, which proves that these assertions are correct? Can such subjective evaluations of a Church's Faith and Life *ever* be objectively proven? If not, why do you insist on pedaling such subjectivity?

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    1. Not too long ago the Archbishop of Greece declared that "Orthodoxy is Hellenism and Hellenism is Orthodoxy." Seems fairly shut and closed on the ethnocentric front.

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    2. Dale,

      Orthodox Christians interpret the Archbishop's statement as a simple affirmation that to be truly “Greek,” one must respect and embrace the Church that evangelized Greece. It is also an affirmation that Christianity has Greek origins, which must be respected and embraced.

      How is this sentiment substantially different from those who call upon the European Union to respect Christ and affirm that there can be "no Europe without Christ"? Is this "ethnocentric" or rather "Christocentric"?

      Likewise, how is the emphasis on Hellenism essentially different from those who say that Christianity is indebted to biblical Judaism and praise the ancient Jewish religion as the root out of which the Church grew, without which she cannot manifest her identity? Is this “ethnocentric” or simply an affirmation of historic and religious truth?

      In each case, we are witnessing not the enslavement of Christianity to ethnicity, but an affirmation of the essential transforming power of Christianity in its incarnation in the world, as well as a call to respect the origins of that Church that will never shed its nature, which hearkens back to a time when current ethnicities and national boundaries were unknown and the message of the Gospel was spread about a Jewish Messiah prophesied in a Greek Old Testament.

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    3. Also, isn't the Papal Mass Gospel read in Greek as well as Latin? I always thought that this was the remnants of a once robust appreciation of Christianity's Greek origins.

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    4. Blogger, I can only deduce that you have not spent too much time around the Greeks, their racism, both ethnic and religious, is often quite offensive. But you are correct, the Byzantine Church is indeed only limited to a Greek expression. I would posit that the early Church was just as richly Syrian, Greek, Roman, Germanic etc. But I support catholicity over church as ethnic sect.

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    5. Dale,

      It is more than a little prejudiced to assume that one ethnicity is so ethnically and religiously racist that such attributes will be noticed by anyone who associates with members of the said ethnicity. I admit; I have rarely encountered such a prejudiced perspective.

      Every group of people has their predominant vices, but I think that we should not be characterized by our failings, but by our faith in Christ. Following the good Archbishop's words, I choose to see the Greek culture and ethnicity as Orthodox, not castigate the Greek populace for their failings since I would desire no less of how others view me.

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    6. "the Byzantine Church is indeed only limited to a Greek expression. I would posit that the early Church was just as richly Syrian, Greek, Roman, Germanic etc. But I support catholicity over church as ethnic sect."

      While I would maintain that the Hellenic nature of the Church is part of the Church in a way that other cultural traditions are not, you made an excellent point about the rich catholicity of the Church. May God hasten the day when all the cultures, which you mentioned, are again united in the profession of the Orthodox Catholic Faith!

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    7. You mean the Hellenic nature of the Byzantine Church, in that I must agree with you. The Byzantines have destroyed any non-Byzantine culture and rite that they could lay their hands on; their hatreds are not limited to the Latin west, but are broad enough to include the Copts, the Syrians, the Ethiopians, The Armenians, cultures and rites that the Byzantines actively attempted to destroy.

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  4. "Why do you think the Pope's claims threaten your perfectly good customs?"

    Is there a clause in the dogma of Universal Jurisdiction that prevents the Pope from officially promulgating a liturgical reform to non-Latin rites of the Church? I was not aware that such a stipulation (or understanding) exists.

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    1. Blogger here I will agree with you. Did not the Pope not too long ago completely destroy the ancient Latin Traditions of the western church on a personal whim? Were our ancient Latin traditions not perfectly good customs? Why replace one of the most ancient liturgies of the universal church with clerical power desks and balloons?

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    2. That's very persuasive; a big reason why I left the church 20 years ago. "See? They were frauds all along; Byzantium IS the church." BUT: our teachings remain, as they must; they're not the problem. Mistakes 50 years ago don't cancel out centuries of good practice. And since when did real Orthodox care about our practices? Your argument is a backhanded testimony to Catholicism. Byzantium's a mostly estranged part of the church, not the church. My God's not that small, nor is he Greek, Russian, etc.

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  5. As for The Beatles. Not a fan myself. Still, like you, I'll admit some of their early songs were good and catchy. While I enjoy hearing the odd early Beatle's tune now and then on radio, none are a part of my music collection. My music collection goes from Classical through to about 1965. Worst thing I ever heard was Lennon's "Imagine" being sung as a recessional hymn at a Novus Ordo. Put me permanently off The Beatles. Enough said! I'll take Glenn Miller any day!

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  6. Why are all the East-West threads hereabouts hijacked by Blogger? I would love to join the discussion, but I don't want to have to constantly deflect Blogger's triumphalistic diatribes. Now he's claiming Orthodox subjection to the imperial state proves EOxy's true churchiness? Mama Mia. What next? Ethnocentrism is the Gospel ideal? Oh wait....

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    1. Blogger's not a troll. I think he's sincere. My guess is he really thinks his church-history arguments will persuade me to leave the church again. No way.

      And if you really want an Orthodox state, REALLY turn your back on us and leave America: move to Greece, the closest thing to the old Byzantine church/state relationship. Russia's close but unofficially; they have no de jure state church.

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    2. OK, I will take your word for it. I just find it tiresome to deal with the long-winded triumphalism. But that's just me. I think I'm sick of these arguments. That's why I find ByzCath really off-putting. I admire your courage in wading into the fray over there, but I personally wouldn't touch that place with the proverbial 10-foot Lithuanian. It's same-old-same-old-same-old, over and over and over again. Makes me tired just to read that stuff.

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    3. "Now he's claiming Orthodox subjection to the imperial state proves EOxy's true churchiness"

      I do not believe that the ancient Christian symphony between the Church and God-ordained Monarchy is equivalent to the subjection of the Church to secular authority - rather it is the ancient, Christian form of government that is still reflected in the official worship of the Orthodox Church. (Of course, this ancient arrangement may be abused in non-Christian ways by unworthy ecclesiastical and/or political leaders, but this does not negate the governmental principle, itself.)

      I am more alarmed by Christians who have abandoned the Church's ancient preference for monarchical leadership and march under the banner of representative government and political pluralism - a tendency, which eventually corrupts Christianity according to democratic sentiment.

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    4. Hi Dianne, I dunno, I find that blogger simply opens himself up to easy attacks; his knowledge of Byzantium seems pretty limited actually.

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    5. Yes, Greece, with the highest abortion rate in Europe (Russia's is higher, but I do not consider Russia part of Europe).

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    6. Yes, this is tragic and a great sin. Kyrie eleison!

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    7. "rather it is the ancient, Christian form of government that is still reflected in the official worship of the Orthodox Church"

      "Ancient" meaning here (as necessarily qualified) "fourth-century" and "eastern" and in its baldest form exemplified by two examples: Constantius' reply to those Egyptian bishops who protested that his removal of St. Athanasius from Alexandria and his replacement by an imperial nominee was uncanonical: "All'hoper ego boulomai touto canon nomizestho" (let what I will be taken for a canon); & Zeno's repromulgation on his sole authority of Canon 28 of Chalcedon after it had been rejected out of hand by Pope Leo, and Leo's rejection - he uses the word "veto" - of it explicitly acquiesced in by Patriarch Anatolius of C'ple and the Eastern Emperor Marcian.

      In this same period Popes of Rome were responding, not with a rejection of political monarchy, but by drawing sharp distinctions between what was to be termed in the Middle Ages "regnum" and "sacerdotium." Gelasius on the "two swords" is the clearest example; Leo's veto of Canon 28 is another; and earlier there is Pope Julius' assertion around 342 that no conciliar canons could be held for valid unless the Roman See had endorsed them.

      One may, if one wishes, bring these western/papal views under the heading of "symphonia," but in practice the music here is quite distinct from that heard in the East.

      Oh, and read Jalland on these things.

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  7. An answer to the latest so far on the byzcath thread, published here in case they refuse to there (I'm on moderation lockdown because I don't buy their anti-Catholic line):

    I get it. It's basically a waste of my time to argue here against the mode on byzcath. As articulated most recently by Alex Roman, it goes against the teachings of the Catholic Church: that Catholicism isn't the true church; the "post-schism Roman doctrines" are wrong. There's expressing Catholicism in Byzantine terms and then there's this.

    A couple of points, DMD. First, I understand that you're still mad at us so you don't want to come back. Understandable. Anyway: ultramontanism isn't really Catholicism. If anything, Vatican I limited our understanding of the papal office, coming short of what the ultramontanists thought. And I get it: nice ecumenical Orthodox, like Catholic liberals and the American mainstream, think we changed our teachings at Vatican II, that we sort of demoted the Pope, so they think some outdated diehards among us are why we don't just walk on over to what you think is the true church. We can't change our teachings any more than you can change yours (neither of us can deny the Trinity or the Mother of God, for example).

    Of course I'm pleased that you recognize our orders, DMD (a lot of good Orthodox don't), but we can agree our churches are in a perpetual standoff. It's great that we're talking again and doing things together: since the original people in the schism have passed on, why not? But we're not going to reunite. Just like with the Protestants: we're not getting back together; we just understand each other and get along now, which is nothing to sniff at.

    Tangent: Orthodoxy in America isn't Orthodoxy in the old country, socially. Over there, they're THE CHURCH, the norm; being Orthodox in Greece or Russia is like being Catholic in New Jersey. Over here, they're ethnic versions of denominations, fitting into the American Protestant scene even though they're "exotic." Byzantine Catholicism is different because it's part of the universal church: Stalin hated it because he couldn't own it.

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