Monday, June 16, 2003

День Святого Духа
No news from Lee, Dave or Samer today!

Православный Церковный Календарь

Criticism of the liturgical theology of the late Fr Alexander Schmemann
by Fr Michael Pomazansky
Having skimmed For the Life of the World I see the dangers in Schmemann's writings that this writer does, but as far as I know Fr Alexander (to use his Orthodox name) himself never advocated changing the Russian Orthodox ritual along liberal lines. And anybody who said, like he did, that the attempted ordination of women is the death of all dialogue was far from a modernist. So while Fr Michael had a point, I think he was overreacting.

‘That Orthodoxy business’ in perspective
One basic difference between me and some in Eastern Orthodoxy is I see things a lot like Fr Lev (Gillet) did: I see the same light, only clearer. You see, to me, EOxy has every essential I believed in all along (see blog entry for May 16) as a would-be Roman Catholic (they confirmed me and taught me how to go to Confession - in short, gave me my moral theology) and a would-be Anglo-Catholic (disclosures: I was baptized Anglican when I was a month old and in my 20s spent a term at a theological college in England - not that I learnt or retained enough to be a theologian!). This is what I mean by 'I believe EOxy is right' or 'I believe everything EOxy teaches', because all of its positive doctrinal statements are simply statements of those fundamental beliefs. 'Mere Christianity' with icons and a liturgy. Or as I like to say, Orthodoxy is Catholicism in 11th-century Greek theological form.

The reason I like Russian culture (the language, the rite) isn't to stick it to Western Catholicism, for example, but because, just like the rest of medieval Christendom East and West, it tried to live out those fundamentals, to incarnate them, however very imperfectly. And as you can see from reading The Way of a Pilgrim and other 19th-century Russian books, it often did so beautifully.

Another way of putting it is while everything I believe as essential is contained in EOxy, I don’t think I believe any opinion peculiar to EOxy, or to RCism for that matter, as necessary for salvation. (Which is how I write off objections like 'What about the Pope? What about the filioque? What about created grace?' Blah blah blah.)

Some probably are going to jump on that as relativistic, denying the one true church, etc. I don’t care.

I don’t claim I can back myself up academically either, but that’s what I really believe.

And I see the risks in what I wrote, ecclesiologically speaking — authority and communion ecclesiology (which, IMO, EOxy has a bead on) keep it from flying away into vagante fantasyland.

I do believe in EOxy’s Churchness and consequently that it has grace — speculation about everybody else is nondogmatic in EOxy and is wide-open space where people like me have lots of breathing room.

Where the difference comes in is that I don't hold, like some, that these fundamentals are the exclusive property or invention of Eastern Orthodoxy.

(I'm not dogmatizing or claiming to proclaim EO dogma, simply stating opinion that happens to be in the range of EO opinion.)

This strain among at least some EOs comes off to me and I dare say to non-Orthodox of good will as simply arrogance. Ignorance and ethnocentrism/chauvinism, even more repellent (hateful, ungrateful, dishonest) coming from converts. (You usually don't get this from ethnics because they've got nothing to prove to themselves - they're happy with their received form of religion and don't care about anything else.)

To use two of my favorite fictional illustrations, this is as ridiculous as Mr Portokalos claiming the word kimono is Greek or Mr Chekov on 'Star Trek' claiming every scientific discovery for the Russians. And perhaps born out of the same defensiveness and inferiority complex.

My ‘russophilia’ as described above, I dare say, is different to this, which I would agree is ‘playing Russian’, etc., in an obnoxious way. (I see fixations with certain jurisdictions the same way.)

A Catholic interviews an Orthodox priest
Interviewer: 'I take exception to the statement that the real difference between Orthodoxy and Catholicism is the doctrine of grace. The Byzantine and Latin doctrines on grace are complementary, not contradictory. This complementarity is what Pope John Paul meant by the Church "breathing with both lungs." The real difference remains our being subject to the universal primacy of the Roman Pontiff, whom the Orthodox view as an oppressive, alien power.'

I can agree with that.

The real reason the two rites exist and are different is that compared to today, people in the ancient world didn't travel or communicate with other cultures as much or as easily, so very different rites developed. And the real reason for the schism between the Orthodox and the Catholics was rivalry between two empires that no longer exist. The other reasons were come up with after the fact to justify it.

My Q&A on the differences between the two sides

No comments:

Post a comment

Leave comment