Thursday, April 03, 2014

Catholicism and Orthodoxy, and more

  • Catholicism and Orthodoxy:
    • From Owen White: On leaving Orthodoxy and on Catholicism and Orthodoxy generally. I almost didn’t post this because I don’t want to give the wrong impression that Catholicism hates the Orthodox tradition or is trying to break up their churches instead of seeking corporate reunion, but this post and thread are too good to pass up.
    • Relatively liberal Orthodox’ take on that. I thought the priest's first answer to me came up short. Reminds me of when I asked the late Fr. Peter Gillquist in person about contraception and didn't get a straight answer. (Mainstream Orthodox have changed on this to be just like ’50s mainline Protestants and modern evangelicals; plausible but not the full faith. The Pope's the last man standing in Christendom.)
    • Cardinal Kasper once said there is no such thing as "the Orthodox Church"; there are only Orthodox churches. True in the sense that there's only one true church; the Orthodox are real particular churches like the Ukrainian Catholic Church or the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, only separated from us. But that doesn't mean we're trying to break up their communion. We want to bring them all back and not change their traditions.
    • I'm all for a loose communion of traditional churches as long as it includes the Pope.
    • From the Anti-Gnostic: Modernity, church, tribe. Interestingly, the Roman Church is strongest where she actually behaves like a Local Church: Croatia, Poland, Ireland, Italy...
    • Anti-Catholic stuff from a convert Russian Orthodox priest in England. The Ukrainian revolution, specifically the American backing of it, and the Ukrainian Catholic Church’s understandable (historically) support of it, shortsighted (political Uniatism) and losing the Catholic big picture of bringing all of the Orthodox back, have done to Catholic/Russian Orthodox relations exactly what I was afraid of. Some Catholics say that complete reunion is a pipe dream; it probably won't happen but witnessing to it is still part of our calling.
    • I like to say that my High or Sung Mass is essentially the Orthodox Liturgy minus icons. (Icons are great but not necessary.) Which come to think of it is what the Nestorian (Assyrian) and Armenian rites are like. The Nestorian Eucharistic prayer (consecration), which doesn’t have the words of institution ("This is my Body," etc.), is the oldest anaphora still in use; ours, the Roman Canon or Gregorian Canon, is second. I think the two Byzantine ones are in the top five.
  • Languages:
    • From Ex-Army: Slavic languages are closely related. Russian and Ukrainian are very mutually intelligible: My impression of Ukrainian's relationship to Russian is what the relationship of Southern and Standard American English would be if the South had seceded and decided to spell everything slightly differently, and make words like "poke" and "sody pop" and other regionalisms the standard words, and regard dialectal formations like "He knowed what I wanted, but he done something different" standard grammar. Much closer than English to its most closely related large language, Dutch, which is close to German. Dutch is what English would have been if the Normans hadn’t conquered England. English of course is Germanic but in the Middle Ages was half-Frenchified, like it's trying to pretend it's a Romance language; that's the English we understand and still speak.
    • The fight to keep diacritical marks in Polish.
  • The Wolf of Wall Street is one of the best movies I've seen. Scorsese's still got it; up there with Goodfellas. Interesting how his casting rewrote history a little.
  • Derb at Takimag: This I believe. Pretty good but I can anticipate the paleo-conservatives' and Catholics' argument that his individualism is a kind of liberalism. That said, he balances it out with ethnic and nation-state loyalties, humanity's normal state of affairs. (Sailer: liberals have leapfrogging loyalties, romanticizing the foreigner - "diversity," "multiculturalism" - as a way to hate their Christian kin. They "love humanity" but hate people.)
  • Music: The Bachelors, “I Believe.”
  • Photo I happened to find: The Bristol Drug. Co. Pharmacy, Santa Ana, CA.


  1. I occasionally read posts on the Ochlophobist's blog when he was Orthodox, mainly through links on your blog, and I usually found them quite alien and alienating. They seemed to hint at things that were never stated explicitly, and there seemed to be a hidden agenda that I could not discern. They also seemed somehow brittle, as if they, and the author, were held together by something that could shatter at any moment -- and eventually they did. And, interestingly enough, it was when he was leaving Orthodoxy that his posts became more transparent and honest and human.

    I noticed something similar but perhaps more disturbing, in an Anglican friend I recently met for the first time in 40 years or so. When I knew him back then he was very involved in the charismatic renewal movement, but approached it in a very puritanical and fundamentalist way. Now he has abandoned all that, and become very relativist, except for one thing: he is engaged in a crusade against evangelicals and "fundamentalists", to whom he imputes all sorts of beliefs that they don't actually hold. It seems to me that he went overboard on his particular vision of what charismatic renewal was all about, and now, rather unjustly, imputes those views to others. If you want to see it as a "journey" (the metaphor of the priest you also linked to), then it seems to me that such people are not on a journey, but they start on a journey, decide they don't want to go there, and go back and start again on a different journey with a different destination. It's a bit like Chesterton's image of the man whio changes is favourite colour every day. There are others who do not, on discovering a new insight, immediately think it renders everything they previously learnt invalid, which then needs to be tossed out, but rather leads to their reinterpretation of previous experience in the light of the present. That doesn't mean we can't take wrong turnings, but rather that one can learn something even from wrong turnings.

    1. Interesting. I seldom read Owen's blog from his Orthodox days, mainly because I've always found most Convert-Orthodox venues to be rather hostile environments for Catholics, and there is a limit to my masochism. :o

      So, I can't comment on what his old blog was like. His current blog...well, it seems to have changed a lot recently, but then, it's been shape-shifting for a while, I think, just like its author. I can't really figure it out. Owen seems recently to have adopted this above-it-all stance -- a pox on both their houses; we're above all those silly "earnest" confessional loyalties; etc. etc. etc. Seems like a cop-out to me, but what do I know?

      Somehow I cannot imagine the apostles taking such a stance. And I certainly cannot imagine anyone dying for such a faith. If it just comes down to Whatever I Personally Prefer and Can Tolerate (And the Rest of You Be Damned), then why bother?

    2. There are others who do not, on discovering a new insight, immediately think it renders everything they previously learnt invalid, which then needs to be tossed out, but rather leads to their reinterpretation of previous experience in the light of the present.

      Which is why I'm where I am. It doesn't teach me to hate Orthodoxy; quite the opposite. Hating Catholicism is a valid Orthodox position (making Orthodox who don't irrelevant, because you are who you are in communion with); vice versa is not in Catholicism.

      Diane, I was thinking the same thing. Owen doesn't always mean what he writes. Some of it is rhetoric to get a reaction. But yes; "above it all." Reminds me of Stuart "Orthodox in Communion with Rome" Koehl. "I'm too good for either church." And of the Anglican branch theory. (We have an attenuated version of it, recognizing some other churches' validity, but hold there is only one true church.) A pose above "earnestness" that is a kind of earnestness: pride. Basically saying there is no church and ultimately egotism: self-worship.

  2. As far as the Slavic thing goes, best analogy is new world Spanish (or Portuguese) to Italian. in English i guess best analogy would be the most backwoods hick Scottish English you can find and compare it to the most backwoods hick American English you can find. Ignoring the outright different words of which there is plethora from pronouns and prepositions to nouns (and increase with advanced concepts nouns) that separate Russian from Ukrainian. Krushchev, who was no idiot, never could fully understand Ukrainian even though Stalin had him running Ukraine for 20 years. Ukrainian grammar uses different vowel sounds in conjugations and also rare prepositions in Russian (до for example) are super common in Ukrainian and vice versa - and noun declinations in Ukrainian for certain prepositions do not match Russian declinations for certain prepositions (and the prepsiiotns can have different meanings in each language) so it becomes impossible to hold technical or intellectual conversion.

    the Ukrainian spoken (which I speak, though not well enough for intellectual conversation) by the ww2 refugees is unintelligible to Russian and polish speakers but we can understand both colloquial Polish and Russian more or less, I have a difficult time with understanding modern Ukrainian speakers and they me - however because their words and accents have changed (for example, for some reason all the french based words we use for like food and kitchen stuff got replaced somehow with new words).


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