Sunday, June 09, 2013

Third Sunday after Pentecost

  • Mass: Respice in me et miserere mei, Domine.
  • The great institutional church downsizing continues in the corner of Delco I live in: parish closings and mergers. ...declines in Mass attendance, sacramental activity, the availability of priests to staff parishes... As a result, our parish will be merging with St. Philomena Parish to form a new parish effective July 1, 2013. Everyone will attend Mass at the current St. Philomena Church. For the time being, the St. Cyril of Alexandria Church building will still be maintained as a worship site for weddings, funerals and feast days. Currently, many of our neighbors are learning of additional parish mergers in our area. St. Alice Parish will merge with and keep the name of St. Laurence Parish at that location. St. Louis Parish will merge and keep the name of Blessed Virgin Mary Parish at that location. So, Philly Archdiocese, how’s that ‘renewal’ from 40 years ago working out for youse? (In the private sector, an executive who came up with something like the council and its results would be out on his ass.)
  • From Takimag: triumph of the hysterical. Apparently there was some politically correct outrage (that Christian heresy trying to stand by the oppressed but ending up looking stupid, denying reality) over a gentleman probably from the golden era noticing that the sexes are different: women naturally prefer to be mothers over being macho executives; they prefer marrying them to becoming them. There is no glass ceiling; men on average work harder and longer, which explains the pay gap. Most women conclude the rat race sucks and get out as soon as they can.
  • Orthodoxy and Catholicism: the great Orthodox sellout on contraception. You can chart it in Timothy (Kallistos) Ware’s revisions to his book The Orthodox Church. (Sometimes a refreshing version of traditionalism, patristic and mystical; other times, as a Catholic friend once said, sloppy theology, like Anglicanism or Novus Ordo liberalism. Yeah, Anglicanism, except for having real bishops and a real Mass: pretty worship but a pushover in the culture wars.) A stark contradiction to that church’s wonderful natural traditionalism. (An estranged Catholicism, not Protestantism.) The Sixties hit them too, largely unknown because they’re a small minority in the West, unreported on: it took them from agreeing with the church, like the rest of 19th-century Christendom did, to the ’50s mainline position that’s the evangelical position now, cautious and plausible. I asked the late convert-boomlet ‘rock star’ Fr Peter Gillquist in person about this sellout and didn’t get an answer; he just changed the subject to how Orthodoxy’s against abortion, which, thank God, is true.

    From an email group:
    I don't know what to make of this "Michael Frost," although he strikes me as the sort of autodidact that filters his "learning" into his prior biases. He is a convert to Orthodoxy (I think from Lutheranism) who lives in Omaha, Nebraska, and yet on many Sundays drives to Des Moines, Iowa to attend a Continuing Anglican church (St. Aidan's, Des Moines), without receiving communion there. He fills the comment space on numerous blogs with defenses of the "Catholicity" of Luther, Bucer, Calvin, Oecolampadius (!) -- all except Zwingli -- without showing much awareness, and serious consideration, of their differences. "Any stick to beat a dog," the dog being Rome, is how I've thought of him -- but now it seems he is a kind of Orthodox revisionist, too, on the subject of contraception.

    What's to prevent an Orthodox Christian of his sort from deciding that WO is okay, if it gets enough traction among certain Orthodox constituencies? I am surprised, though, that he hasn't deployed the topos of the "Western Captivity of Orthodoxy" to justify his stance, although if it were to be applied to the subject of contraception that "captivity" would have begun, when, nearly 2000 years ago.

    All I know is that one would search in vain to find any respected orthodox Protestant pastor or scholar before the last 1/3 of the 19th century who approved of contraception (at least I've never found one - and that's being generous with the application of the words "respected" and "orthodox" even at that). Being Protestant, I've not looked at the Orthodox literature, but I'd wager you could move that date up at least a century in their case. I am aware that Bishop Ware changed what he said on the subject with each edition of his book on
    The Orthodox Church, beginning with the Church catholic's uniform prohibition.

    A lot of people blast Ware for the shifts in the contraception teaching found in the different editions of
    The Orthodox Church, but it seems to me he was just trying to report the "facts on the ground" rather than advance his own take on the matter. By the latter part of the 20th C., it was fairly commonplace for most Orthodox jurisdictions in the West (and probably in the East, too) to at least tacitly approve contraception. I could be wrong, but I believe the OCA's 1992 "Affirmation on Marriage..." was the first semi-official statement on the subject ever made by an organized Orthodox jurisdiction. The Moscow Patriarchate issued their own in 2000. It large apes the OCA's statement, namely that a married couple must be open to children, though they can space them out so long as they don't use an abortifacient, etc. The usual stuff.

    As a certain former Orthodox blogger recently pointed out on a Catholic web-log, in Orthodoxy every bishop (or, in most instances, every priest) is the magisterium, particularly in the American context where there's no set hierarchy. In my seven years in the Orthodox Church I heard at least a half-dozen different spins on the issue, and each of those spins often came packaged with a rich set of qualifiers ("oikonomia" and all that jazz). I suspect that in most instances the "don't ask, don't tell" policy in the confessional is in effect, though I doubt Ware could have put that in a book...


  1. 'I suspect that in most instances the "don't ask, don't tell" policy in the confessional is in effect, though I doubt Ware could have put that in a book...'


    Sounds suspiciously like SOP in the parishes of the modern post-Conciliar CC.

  2. An EO friend of mine who reads this blog just mentioned to me the discussion about me from above. Always a bit weird when people who could just ask you a question to get the info they want choose not to and instead rely on conjecture? Yes, I'm a convert to Orthodoxy. I've been Western Rite Orthodox for nearly 20 years. No, I'm not Lutheran. My daughter is engaged to a man who is now Lutheran but had been Reformed. So I've been studying both traditions. No, I no longer live in Omaha. I moved away a few years ago. I think all Christians (esp. today's Protestants!) would benefit from studying the magisterial Reformers (esp. Philip Melanchthon), their writings, and the various 16th century confessions (e.g., Augsburg, 2nd Helvetic, etc.). Christians should be seriously studying and engaging their fellow brothers and sisters in a most irenic manner!


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