Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Monday, July 29, 2019

Biblical marriage vs. Hollywood romance

I post this not to join in ganging up on Josh Harris, who must be going through hell (his wife of over 20 years loses her faith, he loses his wife, he loses his faith, and he's probably trying not to lose his kids), but because this is a well-written critique of his earlier work ("overly stringent, slightly heretical sexual prosperity gospel") that made him famous.

Bad religion, "churchianity" as the evangelicals in the Christian manosphere say, as a wise monastic acquaintance described to me: God's like a vendor you make a contract with. People who conjure demons are the same way. You obey all the rules, you do the ceremony right, and God or the demon owes you one, such as riches or blissful married sex. You don't have those? Your fault: you weren't faithful enough!

The money quote:
The idea of "the one" or a person's perfect "soulmate" is not biblical or Christian - it actually originally comes from Plato's dialogue "The Symposium." This is not to say that some couples are not more compatible than others, but the key goal of romantic relationships should not be to find "the one," but to find someone you can love and be faithful to all of your days - and make yourself into the kind of person who can be faithful.
Not to be confused with pickup artists' putting down "one-itis" in favor of using women, even though it sounds similar.

My life and at least one other's would have been much better if I'd known this Christian truth. Like many others, the entertainment industry sold me a bill of goods.

Also, from another conversation about this subject: our wicked society's destruction of family and community, of a support system, puts an unrealistic emotional burden, unrealistic expectations, on a husband or wife to be someone's be-all and end-all, such as an intellectual "partner in crime." More harm, breaking up couples.
I often say the reason my marriage has endured so well is we did not marry for love. We are in love, but that is not why we married.
One of the best systems is semi-arranged marriages in cultures set up to do them, such as the revived self-sufficient Catholic towns run by "mafias" of big families that I imagine. They work because while the boy and girl have a say, veto power, it's about uniting and continuing two families. And it works because there is no marketing-fueled generation gap. Rupal's and Sanjay's families know Rupal and Sanjay very well, and everybody shares a religion and culture, so if the families think Rupal and Sanjay would be a good match, they often are. No soul-destroying years of "hooking up" nor platonic nonsense.
My wife and I married more tired with being alone and directionless in life. Mind you I was but 22 so that tells you something about my generation vs. today's. Anyway, after 21 years of marriage I love her more than I can express. It's a love that we both grew into gradually.
Dump the secular world's junk about a soul mate and you realize it's a perfectly good reason if the other person is a good person. And as you found out, it works.

Romantic painting: Tom Lovell (1909–1997), "Back Comes the Bride."

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

How to save Eastern churches in the West: culturally turn Protestant?

One of my sayings: Eastern Christianities fail in Western countries in three generations. A correspondent suggests Protestantizing culturally to better serve America, a Protestant country. Wrong answer but a try.
Big communities, Greek and Russian, fall off in three generations. I know why. Because Liturgy is just boring. It's not relevant with anything the young adult is going through or interested In. Meaning at school and the workplace. Relationships with other American people. The Eastern Orthodox Church is even more strange and alien than Catholic style in USA. So if the Catholic Church is not fully accepted, wanted, or understood, why would something even more outdated be? Also the Eastern Orthodox youth. If Middle Eastern looking. Will not want to go rubbing it in people's face. For fear of persecution. Ostracized from society.
So non-WASPs from the ancient churches should become Protestants at least culturally in America? No. Roman Rite Catholics, that is, most Catholics, tried that with Vatican II and their white ethnic base in America is cratering. All it did was destroy the Christian community they had. One of my sayings: Catholic ghetto is Christian community that liberals don't like.

Many Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic churches have services in English and great youth programs such as summer camps. But they're still bombing with the second and third generations.

The services in pure form are extremely long but old-country Orthodox know how to handle it. They don't stay for the whole thing. Far from it.
The Eastern Orthodox "spirit" is just not American. It's not compatible.
America is very problematic for the ancient churches. It's been Protestant since its beginning. Why it nearly ran Irish Catholics out of the country in the early 1800s. But we could live in peace and even thrive here. America's English-based culture was originally Catholic in the old country, before it was Protestant, and our shared Western culture - laws and norms at least indirectly based on the church - made it work. You seem to be telling all the ancient churches to throw in the towel in America and become Protestant. The Episcopalians have been trying to do that to us for many years, pretending to be one of us. No. And they're cratering too. Evangelicalism seems the liveliest Christianity in America, with old-school Catholicism the second, catching on among the young who choose to stay.

I'm under Rome and I'll take the Eastern Orthodox spirit over Americanism, hands down.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Might the Ukrainian Catholic Church's Russophobia be shooting it in the foot?


Russia understandably is a sore subject in the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC). I'm functionally a Russian Catholic worshipping there, because it's close culturally and it's here, but know to largely keep quiet about it. I know Russian, not fluently, and Slavonic, the old liturgical language shared with Russia, and don't really know Ukrainian as such. I know a few unique words and recognize it when I see and hear it. This parish is descendants of pre-1914 immigration so it's not extremely nationalistic. The liturgical languages now are English and some Ukrainian. The UGCC as of the 1596 union with Rome was the whole metropolia of Kiev, all of the Ukraine and Byelorussia but with lots of resistance. Russian expansion and persecution westward (most of the Ukraine went under Russia in the 1600s) reduced the UGCC by the 1800s to Galicia, under Poland (who weren't nice to them), which was sometimes under Austria-Hungary (who were nice). Then Stalin stole it in World War II, outlawing the UGCC, driving it underground for 40 years. Galicia's related to Russia, brother East Slavs, but was never Russian. It's the home base of the Ukrainian language. That said, most of the Ukraine speaks, you guessed it, Russian. People who don't identify as Russian speak Russian. It's like German-speaking Austria vs. Germany. Kiev, the capital, speaks Russian but the government pretends it doesn't. Russian has no official recognition in the Ukraine. The trouble behind the UGCC's decline in America might be that the UGCC doesn't want to admit that the Ukraine speaks Russian. So recent Ukrainian immigrants, in the Russian communities, aren't served. Post-Soviet immigration hasn't helped the UGCC. Offer Russian-speaking priests with Russian sermons and maybe the UGCC here would come back to life. Another issue, though, is would this put us head-to-head against the Orthodox Church in America (the old Russian metropolia in America, actually 60% descendants of Rusyn and Ukrainian ex-Catholics we harassed about clerical marriage), the Moscow Patriarchal parishes, and ROCOR (by the way, all these Russian groups, split in Communist times, are in communion), which has priests from Russia ministering in these areas? That would go against our long game: don't solicit individual conversions; work to reconcile all the Orthodox to us together and leave the rite alone. Well, the Ukrainians who go there probably don't identify as Ukrainian so the question might be moot. Still, tread carefully.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Modern dating quagmire: "friends" nonsense


How cruel. Reality TV is one jump from gladiatorial games.

The "friend zone" (dead end for saps) or, different, "LJBF" (let's just be friends, which everybody knows really means get lost).
A woman: We'd be better as friends.
Me if I still wasted time dating and heard this drivel: Maybe you didn't notice but it's 1960 here. You know your way out.
A real friend, that is, a fellow:
A million chicks like her will end up perpetually single with six cats crying about there being no good men.
And:
There's a reason she's single.
She deserves to be lonely, crazy, and miserable once her looks and ovaries dry up.

Her name isn't Jessie; it's legion.

Women were never as sweet and noble as the Romantic pedestalizers on down have thought. They're much more likely now to waste years "riding the carousel" in soft polygamy/harems, sharing a few alpha bad boys, than be courted by nice guys. "Nice guy" is an insult in the sex world, as in "you're a nice guy, but" usually preceding the friends crap, because men like this sap seem needy and cowardly about telling the girl what they really want, such as eventually marriage. Too many well-meaning Christians mistake the friends crap for purity and respect so they send these poor saps to a dead end of hurt like in this horrible clip.
Best way to leave the "friends zone" is stop being her friend and just walk away. What Don Draper would do.
Yes. Every time you do that you still have your manhood, and IF she's worth having, she might approach you later. Then again, I had someone approach me apologetic years later who still was no good.


Walk like a man, talk like a man
Walk like a man, my son.
No woman's worth crawlin' on the earth
So walk like a man, my son.
The point of celibacy including the right kind of MGTOW (which is discarded husbands, not the angry dateless), by way of the Four Seasons: your worth as a person doesn't depend on what the other sex thinks of you. And when you're no longer needy that way, maybe, if God wants, you'll meet the right girl.
"Friend zone": let me string you along thinking one day you might have a chance, let me use you to talk about my problems, run errands for me, take me out when I am bored etc.
That's exactly what it is when he's not gay or it's not a jaded player and whore sharing tales of debauchery.

Mike Pence is right.

There are beautiful married acquaintances I informally call friends. Mike Pence rule. There are friends and associates' wives and girlfriends with whom I am cordial. They are not friends. Mike Pence rule.

Allan Bloom, who had no Christian pretensions, quoted by Fabius Maximus:
…Female modesty extends sexual differentiation from the sexual act to the whole of life. It makes men and women always men and women. The consciousness of directedness toward one another, and its attractions and inhibitions, inform every common deed. As long as modesty operates, men and women together are never just lawyers or pilots together.
What this poor sap should have said. Calmly, slowly, not butthurt:
No. We're not. Get your own ride home.
And if they won the prize on the game show, sell it and split the money, or go to court. And never speak to her again.

A manosphere fundamental: modern girls still expect chivalry; "princess privilege." As Dalrock says, they think "weak men are screwing up feminism" and "man up so we can be strong, independent women." Easy. Stop being chivalrous. Disrespect me on national TV and you don't deserve it if you ever did.

Forget casual dating. Don't date. Court.

P.S. These people are actors so this was probably faked but the point stands.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Dystopia now: why Western society needs rebooting

Conservatives of course don't like radical changes but when you've made a wrong turn, backtrack, just like finding your lost keys.

Why "reboot society"?

"We have zero idea how to connect and stay with anyone anymore." Because our f*cked-up modern Western society doesn't want you to. Look at the middle-class American script. You grow up in a suburban non-town, where you're expected to leave your family, all your high-school friends, and your sweethearts behind ("only losers stay home and marry young") to go to college (where you probably don't belong), then leave that pseudo-community behind four years later, THEN have a bunch of corporate or job-chasing moves. Be a lonely, horny, rootless little consumer, a cog. That's what our kiddie jails, schools, are designed to turn you into. "Bowling alone." Throw in contraception and no-fault divorce to make sure your marriage breaks up and you've got dystopia.

No wonder people abuse opioids.

Assimilation is the death of Eastern Christianities in America


"When the grandkids aren't Greek anymore." Small steps forward amidst a massive decline. For every "Go East, young man" convert story of the seekers who should be coming to Eastern churches in America (the Orthodox had their convert boomlet), there are legions more like Rova Farms in New Jersey, just sold to the township, closed about 10 years ago (I was last there about 20 — stately little '50s restaurant and a bar that had become a biker hangout). Here's a story of that Russian community's fascinating history but also its fall... in 1977. Thought of it as I was considering going to ROCOR's big festival at the church still there (pictured) for the Sunday celebrating St. Vladimir's Day, the prince who converted the Ukraine, which spread to Russia; me: "Russia was consecrated when St. Vladimir was baptized." (No, I won't go to Liturgy twice; I just won't go to Communion, which is my usual way anyway.) I just picked up this expression, "civilization lasts three generations," which reminded me of my saying, "Eastern churches in Western countries fail in three generations" due to assimilation. You can try to wall off and speak only Russian. You can have English services and a great Sunday school and youth camp. The kids and grandkids still leave. I don't have an answer.

And regarding "Eastern," for the newbs, there is more than one kind of Eastern Christianity. The biggest and best known are the Orthodox. They and their lesser-known Byzantine Catholic cousins are in various ethnic jurisdictions. Then you have the other rites, such as Coptic and Armenian, which also have representatives in the church. Rival one true churches to both Catholicism and the Orthodox based on alleged Christological heresies. Culturally very similar to Orthodoxy (traditional liturgy, married priests). Estranged Catholics or non-Christians with bishops and a liturgy? The church recognizes their orders as we do the Orthodox. The Maronites are all Catholic, and alas, Novus Ordo-fied, as are the Nestorians' bigger cousins, the Chaldean Catholics.

Valid orders define what I call the great Catholic family: trinitarian theology so basic the Nestorians and Miaphysites, non-Byzantine Easterns, pass ("Do you believe that Jesus is God? Good!"); unbroken claim to apostolic succession; and uninterrupted true teaching about the Eucharist (sorry, Anglicans: we take your framers at their word, so no Mass, no orders). Catholicism is the church but the others are still sacramentally a part of us. No one-on-one proselytism of born members, but bringing these churches in together and leaving their rites alone are imperative.

Byzantine Catholicism in America is endangered, not even getting the temporary boost of more planeloads of immigrants that the Greek Orthodox, the biggest Orthodox group in America, do. (Either they eventually return home, which is fine, or the assimilation cycle starts over.) A suggestion overheard: it might help if the Ukrainian Catholic Church in America admitted that most immigrants from the Ukraine speak Russian more than Ukrainian.

That Byzantine Catholicism is very much not perfect is a sign we have a lot of work to do. And an opportunity: go to the Orthodox for Vespers or Vigil! Not to preach; to (learn how to) pray.

Friday, July 19, 2019

A sound Melkite bishop in America has died


From the Melkite Eparchy of Newton, Mass.:
The Most Reverend Nicholas J. Samra, Eparchial Bishop of Newton, regrets to inform you of the blessed repose of The Most Reverend John Adel Elya, B.S.O., Bishop Emeritus of Newton (Melkite), early this morning, July 19, 2019, at Holy Savior Monastery, Motherhouse of the Basilian Salvatorian Fathers in Joun (Sidon) Lebanon, where he had been residing for the last 10 months. Bishop Elya fell asleep in the Lord while he watched the celebration of the Divine Liturgy in the Monastery chapel from his bed.

The Funeral and Burial will take place at the Monastery on Tuesday, July 23, 2019, with His Beatitude Joseph (Absi), Melkite Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, presiding, along with Bishop Nicholas Samra, Eparchial Bishop of Newton USA, as well as other Melkite Bishops of Lebanon.

Bishop Elya was born in Maghdouche, Lebanon, and entered the Melkite Basilian Salvatorian Order where he professed his solemn vows in 1949. He arrived in the USA in 1954 and served as professor of Moral Theology as well as Rector at St. Basil Seminary, Methuen, MA. In addition, Bishop Elya served as parish priest in several churches in the Eparchy of Newton.

He was ordained bishop on June 29, 1982 and served as Auxiliary Bishop of Newton until January 25, 1994 when he became the Eparchial Bishop of Newton. Following his retirement on June 22, 2004, he resided at St. Basil Monastery of the Basilian Salvatorian Order in Methuen until 10 months ago when he was taken for nursing care to the Motherhouse of Saint Savior Monastery in Lebanon.

O Christ God, with the Saints grant rest to the soul of Your servant, the high priest, Bishop John, in a place where there is no pain, no grief no sighing, but everlasting life!
Bishop John didn't dissent from the teachings of the church in the name of ecumenism.

Eternal memory.

Modernist Pope worship

Got to credit Pope Juan Perón with breaking well-meaning orthodox Novus Ordo Catholics from Pope worship, "adoring" his person as though he and his office (the part the church says is infallible in some situations) were the same. Give up that artsy old Tridentine Mass and just wave your arms for the Pope. The cultus of John Paul the Overrated, who as you can see I have no devotion to. We're actually better off now because Pope Juan Perón hasn't undone Benedict the Great's reforms. I don't watch EWTN; I remember when it was saccharine Novus Ordoism, devotionalism, charismaticism, and JP2 worship. Then Mother Angelica put her old habit back on and sounded off, part of (Anglo-Catholic humor) the Catholic Revival in the Roman Communion. Now EWTN is basic catechetics I don't need; I respect the good they do. That and news, which like everybody else now I get from the Web. Anyway, pushed against the wall, yes, they're sound. They've woken up and smelled the sulfur so they're criticizing Pope Juan Perón. Now the National Catholic Reporter (cranky old people) hates them as much as they hate Trump. And anything NCR hates has got to be good. Them, after decades of attacking our teachings (just shut up and become Methodists): how dare you criticize the Pope? Ha ha ha. Again, a parody Catholicism in which the Pope's person is more important than our teachings.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Love, the manosphere, and "Mad Men"


I like to think, as the last line of "Brigadoon" says, with love, anything is possible, even miracles.

"Mad Men" fan talk. I don't read those Facebook pages anymore because they're all liberals, and mostly female liberals, and I've gotten all the style pointers I need. I don't even watch. I don't need to. Note: the show was a resource but my point was never to imitate the show. But it's amusing, and unsurprising to the profilers and psychologists in the manosphere, that liberal women lust after the illiberal Don Draper. He's an anti-hero with style pointers from ties to "I don't think about you at all" cool comebacks. But he's a psycho. Sidebar: women's God-given survival and reproductive instincts are off course because of sin so they lust after psychos. Literal killers on death row get propositions and proposals. Alpha bad boys, not beta providers some settle for later (sloppy seconds; alpha f*cks, beta bucks). Be that as it may, Draper's not my hero. "Pete Campbell, a man I look up to" is one of the best twists and most moving endings I've seen. Pete was not nice nor particularly handsome. It was OVER: he broke up his family. Divorced and of course Trudy wanted nothing to do with him. But when he "hit the jackpot" with a job, he came back and offered it all to her. And she said yes. Unrealistic? Maybe. But possible. Back to the last line of "Brigadoon." Most of the bitter head cases in the manosphere, out-and-out misogynists screwed over by divorce, which women now start most of the time, say that's for saps but I don't care.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Fr. Richard Paul Rohrer has died


Sad news from the diak at my Ukrainian Catholic parish: Fr. Richard "Rick" Rohrer, former longtime pastor of the Ruthenian parish in Cary, NC - SS. Cyril & Methodius - died July 14 while in the Ukraine.

The diak was once one of his parishioners as was another friend. Been to services at SS. C & M at least twice. Once was, many years before I was officially back in the church, serving in the altar at the second friend's wedding. Very moving.

I understand he was Rome-trained so liturgically entirely Orthodox, and 100% behind the teachings of the church. SS. C & M was and likely still is simply a magnet for sound Catholics in the Raleigh area.

There was a strange pattern in my life then, in the early 2000s. I'd reach out to Byzantine Catholic converts, such as at SS. C & M, on my way back into the church, but they'd confuse things by leaving the church for the Orthodox. One of them came back.

Anyway, Fr. Rick was one of the good guys.

Eternal memory.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Jurisdiction-shopping and stupid sacramentology

  • 3 Greek priests leave Constantinople for ROCOR. “My decision to move to ROCOR was as a result of a number of factors. I have, for some time, been concerned about the growing modernist and ecumenist trends in Constantinople. However, the actions in Ukraine convinced me that I had to leave,” Fr. Spyridon commented to OrthoChristian.
So this is the putative one true church, rival denominations stealing jurisdiction-shopping clergy from each other and crowing about it. ROCOR is now part of the Moscow Patriarchate, which is out of communion with the patriarch of Constantinople for the latter wrongly starting a turf war in the Ukraine, trying to steal that country's churches. I understand the two canonical patriarchates don't even recognize each other's baptisms anymore, at least in the parishes, which is stupid sacramentology. Well, it makes sense to them if each patriarch claims the other is no longer in the true church. I understand that Catholic sacramentology is Augustinian, not Cyprianic (church fathers can be wrong; the church decides): being in the church matters but is not required for validity. Why we recognize Orthodox sacraments!

The self-styled true Orthodox super-believers, the sort who gravitate to ROCOR and are obnoxious about it: the Gregorian calendar and talking to us Catholics are evil, but remarriage after divorce and contraception are okay. (By the way, many Catholics use the Julian calendar - in the Ukraine, for example. It's discipline, not doctrine.) Oh, and if you expect your religion to make sense, you have an evil "rationalist" Western mindset, phronema in the lingo (cult thinking).

Most Orthodox in America are Greeks under Constantinople.

Story the late Archimandrite Serge (Keleher) told me in person:
Orthodox: "It is not enough to have the Orthodox faith; you must be under the Orthodox hierarchy!"
Fr. Serge: "Which one?"
Orthodox: "Shut up! You know too much!"
There is an Orthodox tradition I am a part of by adoption. There is no Orthodox Church. They're all independent.

Monday, July 15, 2019

"I left Eastern Orthodoxy for the church led by Pope Francis, and I don’t regret it"

1. In a sense I didn't leave Eastern Orthodoxy. Been Byzantine again since '16. There is an Orthodox tradition - with me it happens to be Russian Orthodox - that I'm still part of and love. I don't believe in an Orthodox Church. They're all independent, there's no teaching authority, they're wrong about remarriage after divorce and on contraception, their anti-Westernism is bigotry pretending to be theology, and they're not even in communion with each other! (Constantinople vs. Moscow in the Ukraine; Moscow's right.) Born Orthodox get the benefit of the doubt. There are post-schism Orthodox in my all-Orthodox icon corner, and I go to the Orthodox several times a year for Vigil as Communion prep. I receive Communion a few times a year, the old-country Orthodox way, but in the Catholic Church of course. Also, the traditional Latin Mass has the second oldest Eucharistic prayer still in use. It doesn't get more Orthodox than that. (By the way, promoting this Mass is not about Latin.)

2. I came back under Benedict the Great. I don't like Francis but he doesn't faze me. Because he's irrelevant. Our teachings can't change. The Pope can't change them. Papal infallibility is about the Pope's office as part of church infallibility, not his person. We are actually better off under Francis than we were under John Paul the Overrated, the wonderful fellow who brought you altar girls. Francis hasn't undone Benedict's liturgical reforms, better English and making the traditional Latin Mass available to all, because he doesn't speak English and he doesn't care about liturgy.

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

The sunset of Anglo-Catholicism: goodbye, Burrswood

More of the sunset of Anglo-Catholicism: Burrswood in Tunbridge Wells has gone bankrupt and closed after 71 years. (But it hadn't been Anglo-Catholic in many years.) The late Dorothy Kerin's healing ministry. An Anglo-Catholic from the movement's heyday, miraculously healed and a stigmatist, she'd pray over the sick in church, the laying on of hands. Probably a saint.

I had heard of her but didn't realise she had been a stigmatist. Now what does that say about the authenticity of Anglicanism, hmm?
I thought of that - the wannabe Lourdes that wasn't - but wasn't going to be nasty. Why should I be? A born Anglican acting in good faith, not an ex-Catholic, so she gets the benefit of the doubt. Apparently she was very holy. She and her kind loved the church. They thought they were in it! Anglo-Catholicism was my red carpet going into the church and I am thankful.

Hooray for holistic health care.

Maybe Oral Roberts' long-gone City of Faith hospital was a glitzy, overambitious, more Protestant version of the same thing.

Monday, July 01, 2019

Successful Eastern Catholic churches

Successful Byzantine Catholic churches, centuries-old communities (not perfect, but successful): cases where whole patriarchates or metropolias came in. (But we're not supposed to try to split the Orthodox communion anymore, and that is good. Bring them all in together and leave the rite alone.) The metropolia of Kiev and the Byzantine patriarchate of Antioch. The Ukrainian Catholic Church at the union was the metropolia of Kiev: all of the Ukraine and Byelorussia as well (but plenty of people said no to union); Russian expansion and persecution reduced it to old Polish Galicia in the far west, still their base. The USSR grabbed it during World War II. The patriarch of Antioch who became Catholic is the basis of the Melkite Church.

The Russian and Greek Byzantine Catholic churches were originally attempts to convert the Orthodox individually that failed. (We don't do that anymore either, and that is good. We accept these conversions of course but don't solicit them.)

Looking beyond the Byzantine Rite, most Nestorians in what's now Iraq became Catholic; the Chaldean Catholic Church is bigger than the Nestorians.

And yes, it's THE Ukraine for the same reason I don't say "Paree." And the Patriarch of Constantinople is wronging the Patriarch of Moscow over there.

Misfire: on Uniatism

Now there's an attention-grabbing headline.

Deep breath.

Francis is barely still Pope, off the hook on technicalities. Private letters aren't magisterial and he didn't say the death penalty is intrinsically disordered.

I'm a conservative Catholic without apology. Francis and others are basically right about "Uniatism" but that's where I worship and I don't tell anyone to leave the church.

Our primary goal is not to convert Orthodox individually. It rarely works and only makes the Orthodox more bitter.

We are not trying to break up their families, parishes, dioceses, or national churches.

I go to the Orthodox for Vigil several times a year as Communion prep.

"The Eastern lung can be Orthodox"? That seems to go too far but we don't have to believe the Greek Catholic churches are perfect. They're very much not. And born Orthodox get the benefit of the doubt. They're neither personally guilty of schism nor formal heretics. Sacramentally they are still a part of us. So in a sense yes.

We want to reconcile all those churches to us together and leave the rite alone.

Because like all ancient Christian communions we claim to be the true church, we accept individual conversions but quietly, as the late revert Fr. Serge (Keleher) emphasized to me in person 20 years ago. We do not solicit them.

Cardinal Newman

What an intellect and of course an inspiration for Anglo-Catholic alumni, although pre-conversion he like his colleagues wasn't wannabe Roman liturgically. The soul of English moderation while sound as a pound on our doctrine. Misunderstood, maybe a sign he was on the right track. Too conservative for the Anglicans (he could have predicted how they ended up); too liberal for the ultramontanists and their caricature of Catholicism so some Catholics didn't trust him. I've been to Littlemore, to the room where he made his confession so he was received into the church.

My late rector, a Londoner born in the 1920s, always reminded me of him even though alas no conversion (even though he was traditional Roman to the nines ceremonially).

To know history is to cease to be Protestant. We became Catholic when we realized we weren't.

Ora pro nobis.