Friday, May 25, 2007

Western Rite Orthodoxy, or ‘Who’re you calling a Uniate?’
Besides the U word’s use by some Eastern Orthodox as a putdown of Byzantine Catholics, and by older RCs as a neutral term for them, among the high-church minority of BCs it was first used by the late Fr Cyril (Korolevsky) to describe a kind of ecclesiastical ‘Oreo’ who favoured diluting his rite, latinising it under the mistaken notion that this made it ‘more Catholic’ or proved his loyalty to Rome. On the contrary, say this traditionalist minority, there is one body of Catholic dogma but different theological expressions of it (so they say they are Orthodox in communion with Rome for example). Other BCs and indeed some RCs have adopted the other position that they all are really RCs only some use Eastern externals.

This blogger, trying to defend the Western Rite Orthodox experiment as not ‘reverse Uniatism’, seems to mirror the latinisers in the BC churches. Paraphrasing him: ‘We use Western externals but underneath are really Byzantine in our theology — the Eastern church fathers — because only that is really Orthodox’. What?

IMO the best of the WRO, like Subdeacon Ben Andersen, no longer blogging, don’t talk like that. They don’t pretend everything they do is pre-schism nor try and rewrite history to fit byzantinocentrism. Like the high-church BCs use mostly Orthodox stuff and try and square it with today’s RC ecclesiology (papal prerogatives), these Orthodox openly use Roman and Anglican prayers, devotions and spiritual writing — dare I say theology as in ‘expression of dogma’, not the same as dogma in itself? — and find that this doesn’t contradict the Byzantine theology of other Orthodox. One set of dogma, different expressions. Sounds good.

The high-church BCs commemorate post-schism Orthodox saints because the Orthodox never held a general council defining as doctrine any denial of what Rome teaches, so Rome gives the Orthodox churches the benefit of the doubt.

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