Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Cathedra Unitatis blogger has decided to remain Orthodox
I don’t regularly read this year-old blog in which a convert to Orthodoxy from Protestantism considered the Roman Catholic claims and converting again but of course the topic is of interest — this is not a denominational blog — and I like the blogger’s civil approach to all this

Most of these quotations are from the com-box:
...a place for discussion of Orthodox-[Roman] Catholic rapprochement.

...the discussions engaged in here have been consistently intelligent and representative of Christian charity. Unity is a hard sell. Mostly because we are trying to out-shout each other.

I wanted smart Orthodox and
[Roman] Catholics to come together and engage in an honest yet charitable dialogue on ecclesiology, and specifically, the issue of the Papacy and primacy in the Universal Church.
We agree the issue separating these two sides is the scope of the Pope: not being anti-papal but a question of ‘divinely instituted supremacy’ or ‘man-made rank of the divinely instituted episcopate for the good order of the church but without universal and immediate jurisdiction’.
Perhaps my position is inconsistent and incoherent. And, frankly, I don’t think that the [Roman] Catholic Church would condemn my decision, especially since nowadays it seems to want to deal with the Orthodox as a corporate entity, rather than siphon off individual converts.
Right on the second and third parts, the second because he’s not a former Roman Catholic.
You may think me deluded, but I don’t believe that my decision to remain Orthodox automatically means a rejection of the Holy Roman Church, or the Papacy, or the many good things from that communion that enrich Christendom... or have given into the ridiculous Orthodox stereotypes about Rome.

What sustains me is my hope (reminds me of a recent papal encyclical!) for continued rapprochement and the eventual unity of Christendom.

I don’t buy most of the Orthodox polemics about Rome, to be quite honest. I just believe that it is my duty to remain where I am and hope and pray and work for the healing of the schism.

I’m on no path to be “rabidly anti-
[Roman] Catholic.” In fact, I’ve become less critical of Rome as I’ve moved to Orthodoxy. Go figure: it doesn’t support RC blogosphere polemics, but it’s the truth.

I understand that Rome has never abandoned the idea that individuals who feel bound in conscience to join the church must do so. I have been told by a number of
[Roman] Catholic priests that I must not join unless I am 100% convinced that it is my moral duty to do so. In all honesty, I am not 100% convinced. And so I remain where I am, which according to Rome is a place with real priesthood, sacraments, and all the means of salvation.

The “anti” attitude that one experiences in the Orthodox Church continues to be a major stumbling block for me. And yet I know many Orthodox, clergy and laymen, who do not display this attitude, despite the centuries of polemical back-and-forth between the churches... One certainly wouldn’t get that impression from visiting Orthodox message boards and blogs, but I don’t see any need, as an Orthodox Christian, to believe what the online ideologues say. No matter what they say, anti-Westernism and anti-Romanism are not dogmas of the Orthodox Faith, and so I am not bound to believe or mimic such positions.

...we know that a Primacy does exist in the Church does exist, but the notion of Supremacy is alien to the history of the preschism church, and certainly unacceptable to Orthodox Christians. I am a fan of Pope Benedict XVI, and know that he really understands the theological issues.
Which is why they understood and respected him when he repeated the teaching that Rome is the one true church: as Catholics they believe in an infallible church too! The liberal Protestants were put out and their ideological progeny the secular media were too happy to play along (‘Pope to other Christians: you suck’). They really don’t have a problem with Pope-like authority; they object to one that’s Catholic, that is, under an infallible rule of law. They think that oppressive. Their way gives the people in charge more not less power. They can change anything.
Please do not tell me that the most loving thing I can do is tell people the truth. I have heard it before and, invariably, the person who says it doesn’t mean it. Or, more to the point, what they mean is they get to tell me why I’m wrong and they are right.
One person ‘with a well established and unfortunate reputation among both Orthodox bloggers and her fellow [Roman] Catholics’ wrote along with nagging comments attacking the blogger’s decision:
I’ve learned, through bitter experience, that my words convince no one and may likelier drive people away.
Take the hint.

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