Thursday, July 19, 2012

  • The SSPX’s ‘no’ to Rome was just a rumour. Of course: they have never been in principle a separate church; that would go against what they stand for. I’m not in it, they have their faults, but I thank them for the great good they do. Again: let’s make Fellay a cardinal and have a personal prelature.
  • Metropolitan Jonah. On one hand, sad and embarrassing; on the other, so what? Three living ex-head metropolitans? (Traditionally it’s for life like the Pope.) The first convert/non-ethnic one bombs? Makes it look like the OCA can’t govern itself; would it have been better if they remained under the Russians? Then again, they acted regarding Jonah so they can. The well-meaning culture-wars converts brought up the matter of Bad Orthodox, Americanized/liberalized ones who even sometimes hold office, with mainlinish views about homosexuality and women clergy. (Relatively next to nobody in the ancient apostolic churches is agitating to change the church on these.) Turns out that or homosexual clergy weren’t the real problem. The media seem to have jumped at a chance to bash any church, certainly one that resembles the hated Catholic Church. On the ‘So what?’ side, of course there have always been bad or ineffectual clergy (St Peter Celestine), the Metropolia/OCA’s long been a cheerfully corrupt little church; it’s not a big deal to Orthodox parishes; life in the Slavic-American Rust Belt (the kind of Orthodox I like best because it’s most like home, ‘Catholicky’; 100 years ago they were Greek Catholic) – Liturgy (Mass: traditional but now vernacular; great!), Scout troops, pierogi sales, bus trips to Atlantic City and a drink at the Sportsmen’s Club bar in the hall after deer-hunting – goes on, only with fewer and older people than before. Orthodoxy runs on local immemorial custom, bottom-up more than top-down (there’s something to that), something the scandal-sniffing media probably don’t understand and they don’t care. As Fr Chadwick’s written, traditional society’s rules (like with culturally conservative Orthodox) have always been strict but often lightly applied (forgiveness and all that); when you’re in the family (ethnos), your failings are often... overlooked. (How Orthodox ‘economy’ works.) The occasional flamer, embezzler or accessory to other crime among the clergy doesn’t change anything really; chances are they won’t vote to change the faith at a convention. That’s not how they work. Photos: St Mary’s, McKeesport, Pa., and Sunday-school teachers, Holy Trinity, Charleroi, Pa., 1961.
  • Again Johnstown having to draft a priest from their Greek parent church to be their bishop suggests they’re not doing very well. A shame because again the kind of Orthodox I like best. Where are the native Slavic-American vocations? Married clergy aren’t a cure for lack of vocations.
  • Catholic thought on the Orthodox, echoed in Soloviev. Most of the rank and file probably don’t know they exist. Sacramentally they’re the same church. As crazy as it sounds, arguably because they never held an ecumenical council repudiating post-schism Catholic teaching, including on contraception, they’re not really separate from the church, just estranged. So born Orthodox get the benefit of the doubt and venerating most post-split Orthodox saints is no problem. The goal, unlike with Protestants for whom it’s impossible, is corporate reunion (one side giving in, which probably won’t happen), so while of course individual conversions are accepted, as the late Fr Serge Keleher told me, they’re best done quietly.
  • The church is not a cult; people are free so there are lots of Bad Catholics. Of course the Know-Nothing media want to play this up like a new Inquisition, but churches have the right to govern themselves, and if you hold a teaching job, even a volunteer one, then yes, you have to uphold the church’s teachings, so a loyalty oath is a great idea.
  • Charles Coulombe on the Episcopalians. Reply. I don’t miss the old snob appeal, which, I say, didn’t really go away; it just changed costumes. Regarding the latest news, I think they’ll keep losing people like crazy and that the semi-conservative Diocese of South Carolina will end up in semi-conservative (Slightly Less Liberal Protestant Denomination, or the Episcopal Church 10 Years Ago) ACNA. I don’t have that much sympathy for their few remaining relative conservatives; staying, they knew what they were getting into. Episcopalianism’s semi-congregationalism probably gave them a false sense of security. Since some of those churches go back to colonial times, I think the parishes have a shot at keeping them.
  • Labyrinths? So there’s a pretty pattern on the floor of Chartres Cathedral; so what? The mainliners are having their fun with it. It seems like New Age music; some bad associations but for the most part pretty and harmless.

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