Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Perennial online topic: Roman Catholic/Orthodox unity
Joshua dug up a 2008 NOR article that’s a sight better than the Frank Kimball piece they ran about 11-12 years ago. Kimball returned from a fringe church that wasn’t really Orthodox and the Novus Ordo neocons’ criticism of the Orthodox sounded just like ‘Catholic’ liberals, like ‘give up that artsy old-fashioned stuff and become a charismatic’, a fave line of conservatives under John Paul the Overrated.

A perennial online phenomenon: a Catholic all sweetness and sunshine with visions of Orientale Lumen dancing in his head reads one of these stories and goes to an Orthodox e-mail list/message board/blog/whatever the kids do now and gushes on how much we have in common (and we do), and Barsanuphius Jones (it’s always a convert) slaps him down: ‘Graceless heretic! Hisssssss!

A quote from main man Modestinus: In my experience, most cradle Orthodox are indifferent toward Catholics at worst and genuinely friendly toward them at best. Mine too. (Pictured: cradle Orthodox at Assumption in South Philly. The nice Catholicky side of the OCA.)

Some review:

All Orthodox doctrine is true: 100% Catholic. There’s not that much of it! The big seven councils: Trinity, Jesus is true God and true man, so Mary is the Mother of God and pictures of God and the saints are OK. Orthodoxy is Catholicism circa 1000. Not a Protestant sect.

Of course there’s more to it than that, from the Mass to prayer for the dead (without an intermediate state, such would make no sense) to devotions to the saints, never defined either because it was never denied enough to be defined or the post-schism Orthodox didn’t have the wherewithal to call a dogmatic council (their Trent versus the Protestants, Jerusalem in 1672, is close). Again, Catholic. (Since all the anti-Western stuff is not doctrine, Rome gives born Orthodox the benefit of the doubt.) Speaking of which...

M noticed the waffling on contraception and deafening indifference to abortion too:
...there is the more problematic fact that Orthodoxy, particular in America, simply does not care about the issues which are at stake. Abortion and contraception are not, by and large, problematic issues for the Orthodox despite the fact that their confession has, until recent times apparently, been one with the Catholic Church in opposing these most visible elements of the culture of death.
Contraception: causa finita est and a trump card for Rome.

To be fair on abortion, when you’re in a naturally trad church, that is, not Novusized, you’re not interested in culture wars as a substitute for religion because you still have religion. Counterpoint: weak magisterium and bad catechesis so the people get their cue from secular (ex-Prot) American culture.

A communion of conservative apostolic ethnic-based churches remarkably alike yet very little to do with each other. And that’s fine with everybody in it.

A naturally trad church. Again, what I like: a down-home traditionalism in America’s industrial Northeast (never been to Greece or Russia), grassroots, no Novus; church as small parish/big ethnic family; economy (M: Greek for ‘we’re not following the rule but who gives a rip?’; not the same as Catholic liberals defying the church; more like Bad Catholics but not even that serious, just about discipline not doctrine); Leonid Ouspensky on icons (something recent: he said they’re halfway between a picture and a sacrament).

Like Summorum Pontificum and the ordinariates, just the kick in the ass that novusordism needs.

Getting to the point...

Of course NOR’s right that corporate union with the Orthodox is possible. Both sides have real bishops (Catholicism is not Cyprianic). Churches. Protestants are non-churches. So, going back to kicking novusordism, this is the only ecumenism worth taking seriously. Catholic ecumenism. (And Vatican II is nothing to do with it.)

Regular readers know what’s coming.

Sacramentally they’re the same church. The only real difference is the scope of the Pope. (Real difference or Orthodox ex post facto rationalization?)

Of course both sides believe in church infallibility and have the same one-true-church claim (not Protestant ‘branches’ of the church).

So to give ecumenist-hating Barsie Jones credit, this is a zero-sum game.

One side will have to give in to the other. But what would that mean? Either the Roman Catholic Church would fold into the Orthodox’ little Western Rite experiment (will never happen) or the Orthodox would become what the Greek Catholics should have been, uncompromised in their practices (very unlikely that all the Orthodox churches would go along but never say never).

That’s another thing: Greek Catholics (ethnics, not the convert minority) are happy being high Novus. They don’t give a rip about Orientale Lumen. They’re their own thing. Which, as long as the latinizations are pre-V2, like Johnstown was for many years thanks to its isolation, can be charming. But of course Rome’s right. Diluting Orthodox practice was counterproductive.

A great thing about the Catholic Church is it doesn’t teach you to hate Orthodox traditions the way Orthodox anti-Westernism treats the other side.

Finally a couple of quotes on the Catholicism the sides share, first from Chris Jones:
The real teaching on theosis in the parishes is: come to liturgy; say your prayers; keep the fasts as your confessor advises; struggle with sin and go to confession; receive the Eucharist with fear and trembling; and you will be saved.

That is what I was taught, and I still believe it. I have a hunch that you still believe it too.
And from M again:
Same Jesus; same Mary – I do not understand the difference.
Keep the faith, kids.

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