Sunday, February 07, 2016


  • Mass: Esto mihi in Deum protectorem.
  • More on Pope Francis' and Patriarch Kirill's historic upcoming meeting. I hadn't thought of this but Gabriel Sanchez remembered: the Patriarch of Moscow's longstanding objection to meeting the Pope was the existence of the Ukrainian Catholic Church (which is among "the Uniates"). Understandable given the schismatics' crabbed version of the true-church claim. In this case, the Russians say Ukrainians are a branch of themselves (arguably true; they are closely related) so they should all be in the empire and thus the empire's church (their fake catholicity) and thus are outraged that most western Ukrainians (the most patriotic, un-Russian Ukrainians) aren't and don't want to be. (Like the tsars, Stalin hated the Catholic Church because he couldn't own it like he eventually could the old state church.) So what does this change in policy, not doctrine, regarding meeting the Pope mean? Msgr. Kirill (what we traditionally call bishops without jurisdiction) is his church's canonical patriarch in the Ukraine, but the Ukraine has separation of church and state (as, in theory, does Russia) so he can't tell the Ukrainian government what to do. (And why on earth should the Ukrainian government obey a man in Moscow's wish to liquidate its most patriotic citizens? Just because Russia's the biggest bully on the block?) Maybe this is Realpolitik from the Russians, playing their cards carefully, either telling the West what it wants to hear about the Ukraine or even giving up an implied claim to the place. (Why Putin isn't invading its Russian east.) I would no more expect or respect relativistic religious liberty (lamely defending mere "freedom of conscience," not the faith) from the patriarch than I would from us. A point Sanchez brings up: can the Pope throw the Ukrainian Catholic Church under the bus for ecumenism's sake? Handing them to the Russian church, say? I dare say no. We have a true-church claim too, which all Catholics, including the Pope of course, must obey. The Ukrainian Catholics aren't in schism or heresy; he can't throw them out! (Just like he can't ordain women or marry two men.) By the way, anti-Catholic online Byzantium isn't necessarily pro-Moscow. For one thing, there's a power struggle between Moscow, the only geopolitically important Orthodox church because it belongs to a superpower (land and nukes), and Constantinople, the Orthodox' ranking patriarchate (but not their Pope; their national churches are independent) as it was the capital of the old empire, the historic headquarters of the Greek church and missionaries to the Russians, but under the Turkish bootheel since the late 1400s (the patriarch has to be a Turkish citizen). Second, the little anti-Catholic "Orthodox in communion with Rome" ecumenical online circle's fantasy is that the Uniates are in fact Orthodox; all that needs doing are for the Catholic Church to acknowledge that by dumping all our defined doctrine after the 11th century and for the Russians et al. to recognize the Uniates' orders and start intercommuning. Ridiculous, I know. But some people will believe anything. (By the way, I'm not knee-jerk anti-Russian — I hope Putin's a new Constantine. My first traditional Catholic Mass was Ukrainian.)
  • Including that cheering for the home football team in church is a good idea, or abusing religious symbols in fun for a good cause. Photo from the Episcopal Church in Colorado (why not "the Diocese of Denver"?): Ken Malcolm and Bishop Rob O'Neill with a "Broncos chasuble." At least it has a traditional orphrey pattern (after all, these are Episcopalians) but no. Sacrilegious and pathetic. I didn't post this to pick on the Episcopalians. Indirectly because of Vatican II, Catholics have been just as ridiculous. The likely thinking behind this, if any: church, particularly the Eucharist, is about building up the community, right? What better way here and now than to join the city in cheering for the winning home team? The ways this is wrong: this cheering belongs in the Sportsmen's Club bar in the parish hall, not in the sanctuary. Putting this secular symbol literally at the altar is making it an idol. And what is it really a symbol of? Not only just a game, but a business that doesn't even really care about the city. It's not a liturgical color assigned for the day (though it accidentally looks like the purple for Quinquagesima Sunday), just like green isn't the color for St. Patrick's Day nor is "Danny Boy" appropriate in church. Again, a profanation. The Episcopalians wrote to me: Just to clarify, this chasuble is not being used in liturgy. It was a gift made by a parishioner 30 years ago to The Episcopal Church in Colorado. We honor the memory of the woman who made it and support our home team as we use this unique opportunity to raise money and bring attention to a great charity that does tremendous work in over 40 countries. So far we have raised $17,000 that will help communities in need around the world. If you'd like to participate in this philanthropy to a deserving organization, please let us know. A little better, but they think making fun of one of our sacred symbols to raise money for a Protestant charity is OK. My answer: Thanks for the clarification, but the chasuble as a liturgical vestment was originally ours; to us Catholics, it is part of the presentation and pleading on our altars of Jesus' sacrifice. Using it jokingly to cheer for the home football team is as wrong as an image of Jesus wearing a Broncos jersey (reminds me of Buddy Christ in the movie Dogma).
  • Statement from Metropolitan Hilarion regarding the conversion of the "Catholic Church of the East" to Orthodoxy. I understand this Fr. Elias "was in fact deposed as a priest in the PNCC," itself iffy (in schism, this tiny, shrinking American church's wires have always been crossed: good-hearted Polish cultural conservatism meets radical protestantizing Americanist ideas going back to its founder; a lot of them are Freemasons). If so, there goes ROCOR again, scraping the bottom of the vagante barrel in their effort to pretend to be a universal church (the universality they really believe in is the same “Russian World” as in Russian politics) and thus spite Rome. Didn’t their getting burned by Blanco and Nathan Monk teach them anything?


  1. Episcopal Church dioceses are usually of the state (e.g., Colorado) or a subdivision thereof (Upper South Carolina) as they were initially conceived of as the Church in one of the newly independent states after 1783 and the effective renunciation of the jurisdiction of the Bishop of London. With the 19c expansion of the Episcopal Church and the influence of the Oxford Movement and a more patristic consciousness, see-based dioceses were established (Albany, Newark, San Joaquin, etc). In Canada, many dioceses were named after bodies of water or regions as the church's presence preceded the building of cities (Athabasca) or the settling of a bishop's see in a particular place (Caledonia).

  2. ROCOR apparently learned nothing from Nathan Monk and the other ecclesiastical odd ducks they've taken in ... Sad to say that this rather well-known, notorious episcopus vagans , Ramzi Musallam , was apparently brought in to ROCOR by Metropolitan Jonah . I'm OCA , Diocese of the South , and I was a big Metropolitan Jonah supporter (and I still like him , just not so sure now that he was ever really cut out to be a Bishop or a Metropolitan) and I never wanted to believe the charges by the OCA Northeastern establishment that he was a loose cannon with a poor judge of character ... but this and some other things he's been behind make me wonder if he is entirely too trusting (eschewing our Lord's admonition to be "wise as serpents") and too quick to lay hands on men who don't deserve that trust. There's a lot of info about this vagante group ("Arabic Catholic Church"/"Catholic Church of the East" ) on the Byzantine Catholic Forum :

    1. Thanks but the Byzantine Anti-Catholic Forum is bad news, trying to subvert the church from within, just like low-church Western Catholic liberals. (Looking down on Western Catholicism, and if you don't buy their dissent schtick, you could do the whole horologion every day in medieval Greek with 1,000 prostrations and they'd still say you're not committed to the rite.)

    2. Ok. I really don't know much about them (the forums) , but that thread comes up in searches about Musallem's denomination "Arabic Catholic Church/ "Catholic Church of the East" . Don't shoot the messenger.

    3. The vagante story is pretty consistent across its micro-churches; it attracts the same kind of odd ducks every time, failed or wannabe clergy (high-church clericalists who want to be priests for the wrong reasons), including a dangerous element, from con artists to sexual predators. As one writer put it, there's always a strange mix of orthodoxy and rationalism, like Episcopalianism but more fringe-y, since the entry standards for the ministry are so much easier. Funny how ROCOR keeps being taken in. Though in this case you seem to blame Metropolitan Jonah; maybe he's just naive as you say.

      Byz Anti-Cath's approach to both our churches dishonors them, trashing our respective true-church claims as well as Catholic doctrine. "We're all schismatics" logically means "there is no church." The only way they make sense is as a fifth column volunteering to try to help you guys by changing Catholicism from within. I'm not saying your churches are egging them on, although there are "ecumenical" Orthodox including on that board who do.


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