Monday, April 30, 2007

George Weigel on fanaticism on Mt Athos
He has a point — echoing the late Gerard Bugge on the Protestant-like ‘anti- spirit’ one can find among the Eastern Orthodox, defining yourself by what you’re not — but as longtime online writer and Mere Comments com-box regular Stuart Koehl (a Byzantine Catholic) notes on other matters (he does a better job than Weigel explaining Mt Athos and 1054) Weigel doesn’t understand Orthodoxy: write on the board (Bart Simpson fashion) ‘The Patriarch of Constantinople is not the Orthodox Pope’ 100 times.

One more time: being in communion with Constantinople does not define being Orthodox like being under Rome defines being RC. It’s rather like the Anglican Communion without any Protestants but not exactly. (The Archbishop of Canterbury, though not a Pope-like person with universal jurisdiction, sort of defines who’s in the family according to which bishops get invited to the Lambeth Conference.) Belonging is defined by being in the communion, the family of churches, which happens to include this bishop in Istanbul.

I’d like to add that, contra some Athonites and the serial-Cyprianist converts (the ones who foam at the mouth online about Sergianism and ecumenist heretics devoid of grace) who often change not only their church but their religion three or more times in five years, ‘non-Roman’ does not necessarily mean ‘anti-Roman’ or ‘anti-Western Catholic’ (some well-meaning RCs don’t understand this either) even if one holds that the papacy is a man-made rank of bishop for the good order of the church and not (as RCs are required to believe) divinely instituted like the episcopate itself. Witness a fine gentleman, Touchstone’s own Fr Patrick Reardon (a former Episcopal priest). I’ll take one of him over a boatload of the fanatics and Internet types.

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