Thursday, December 20, 2007

St Ambrose revisited
On the Russian observance of his feast-day, the same date as Western Catholicism only according to the Julian calendar

His story from the breviary.

According to Donald Attwater
a group of senators tried to get the statue of the goddess of victory restored to the senate-house in Rome; Ambrose intervened, and persuaded the young emperor, Valentinian II, not to give permission... Arianism... was given support in high quarters (the mainline ‘let’s have gay weddings’ of its day, right chic). The empress-regent, Justina, ordered him to hand over a building to the Arians for use as a church: Ambrose refused.
Well, that was bl**dy closed-minded of him!

As The Rose Maniple sarcastically blogged recently,
I mean, how could he? Doesn’t he know that that could offend some people’s theological sensibilities? Jesus doesn’t really care if you believe his word or his Church as long as you’re really nice to your neighbour, right? After all, people who don’t believe in Christ’s godhead (and thus, one assumes, not in the Eucharist itself) can still be good Christians, right? To think that one shouldn’t partake in the sacraments just because one doesn’t believe in them is so retro and self-loathing. Who’s to say whether they are good Christians? (Maybe the Council of Nicæa?)
As blogged recently by Joshua Snyder he spoke truth to power, excommunicating Emperor Theodosius for a revenge massacre by the state in Salonika.
The emperor is within the church: he is not above it.
The point (besides claims about the Pope) of people from the English martyrs of the 1500s and 1600s (highlighting the benevolence of state control over the church, what?) to the Ukrainian Catholic Church from the 1940s to the 1980s, worth studying to see how an underground Catholicism survived. Everybody including Rome thought they were wiped out in their homeland of old Polish Galicia but at the end of the 1980s they resurfaced complete with acting Metropolitan Volodymyr (Sterniuk).

BTW not all Ukrainian Catholics went underground: like Patriarch Sergius in the above-ground Russian Church some outwardly conformed to obeying the Soviet government, going with their churches under the Russian Church after the Communists stole them — same priest, same congregation — then when the ban was lifted going back under Rome. (Just like in penal England there were ‘Church Papists’, RCs who were outwardly Anglican most of the time but nipped off to an underground Mass at least once a year, such as the composer Byrd.)

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