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 clergy from each other and crowing about it, jurisdiction-shopping. 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.