Monday, October 31, 2005

Eastern churches
From Bernard Brandt

Why he has been a Russian Catholic for 18 years
Fleeing the Novus Ordo was a lot to do with it

On Byzantine Catholic message boards, and not only quasi-official ones, you’re not supposed to talk about that. Do and you’ll be shouted down and/or banned.

It’s fashionable to look down on traditionalists there: if a ‘trad’ doesn’t become Eastern then his sincerity and character are questioned for that and they write as though he’s not welcome in their churches*, but if you do really learn their rite and one or more of their cultures, and continue to criticise the NO, you’re damned anyway, accused of preaching schism, as late high-church BC worthies like Blessed Leonty (Feodorov) and Metropolitan Andrew (Sheptytsky) were in some quarters — worthies the online BCs give lip service to but actually dishonour. They really sound like Novus Ordoites playing Eastern. More a problem of the Ruthenians and Ukrainians than any of the others.

Either way if you admit you are fleeing it you’re accused of not really caring about the Christian East. Of course the two issues — fleeing spiritual harm and caring about the East — aren’t mutually exclusive as Bernard shows. It takes a lot of dedication to the Orthodox tradition to be a Russian Catholic. Any real conversion has both positive and negative elements to it: being discriminating and judgemental (horrors!), a rejection of one thing and an acceptance of another.

Perfect solutions are found only на небесах but despite the anti-trad online saddos not only the exemplary Russian Catholic and Melkite churches but other BC churches are sturdy refuges for Catholics (as opposed to ‘Catholics’) in the US.

Слава Богу!

*They start from the correct premise of defending the integrity of the rite from attempts to hybridise it but refugee trads are presumed guilty of that with no appeal.

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