Friday, October 03, 2014

Inside the OicwR mind: abusing unlatinized Greek Catholics as human shields

OicwRs' doyen, Stuart Koehl, on being shown this:
Sergei really needs to get his lithium levels under control. And I will remind you that no less a person than His Beatitude, Patriarch Gregorios III has proudly proclaimed himself to be an "Orthodox Christian in communion with the Church of Rome"--as did His Beatitude, Patriarch Lyubmir (sic) of Kyiv. I know that Sergei wants us all to be good little Uniates, but that horse left the stable a long time ago, and most Eastern Catholics find Sergei's rants to be, well, patronizing and insulting, to say nothing of woefully ill-informed.
They're the worst enemies of good Catholics ("good little Uniates," as the patronizing and insulting Mr. Koehl sneers) who are liturgically Orthodox and follow their calling of expressing Catholic doctrine in Orthodox terms, even stealing their rightful moniker, "Orthodox (Christians) in communion with Rome." Because they're pretending to BE those good Catholics. It's like the vagante bishop who has his picture taken with the Pope or the Patriarch of Antioch so he can claim to be in communion with him.

Most Eastern Catholics don't read these online arguments because they don't much care about the Internet. OicwR is very much an imaginary church, an Internet church, just like vagantes. The Slavic Greek Catholics I've known have been happy being Catholic. As Gabriel Sanchez remembers:
When I was growing up in the Eastern Catholic wing of the Church, it would have been unthinkable to try to so self-consciously align with Orthodoxy in an effort to repudiate what we professed as Catholics. ...(admittedly American, and mostly convert) Eastern Catholicism: A near-pathological disdain for being Catholic despite a strange refusal to flip Orthodox.
Real Eastern Catholics either are dumb goyische kopfs in Mr. Koehl's estimation (being a good Catholic is for muggles) or Mr. Sanchez needs to get his lithium levels under control.

An answer to Mr. Koehl:
Bishop John Elya told me the same thing years ago. In his case it does not involve an "I can reject Florence, Trent, Vatican I and everything that contemporary Orthodox reject as 'Latin teachings'" stance. I have never seen one solid bit of evidence that Patriarch Gregorios III thinks otherwise - or, for that matter, Patriarch Lubomir or his successor. If those whom John characterizes as OiCwRs do accept the view that I have presented above in quotation marks, and if they were sincere and honest people, they would become Orthodox quam celerrime and cease their solipsistic fabrications of an imaginary Church of which they are their own Basileis kai Autocratores.
Mr. Koehl may well want to be that; more plausibly, his kind is trying to convert us all to Orthodoxy from within. No, thanks. They whine that we don't understand the East and are trying to force latinizations on them; nothing could be further from the truth. Rather, being Catholic is about not having to hate the West in order to love the East; mother church offers both the unlatinized and the latinized forms of the Byzantine Rite.

Mr. Koehl:
A lovely man, Bishop John, but in no way representative of the rest of the Synod (he was one of just two bishops--the other being non compos mentis at the time--who refused to sign the Zoghby Statement). The Melkite Synod continues to stand by the Zoghby Initiative, despite what some say was its repudiation by the CDF, and the Melkites as a whole ALL believe themselves to be Orthodox Christians in communion with Rome, whose approach to the issue of Latin dogmas, including those relating to the Roman Primacy, are far from passive acceptance. Say rather that most are not seen as being substantially different from Orthodox belief, while the substantive matter of the Primacy is and will continue to be open to interpretation in light of authentic Eastern ecclesiology.
Same playbook: pretend to be good unlatinized Catholics. Interesting jab: good Catholics who don't sign the sellout Zoghby Initiative (repeal the second 1,000 years of Catholic doctrine, as if we were Episcopalians or Mormons) are crazy or at least outliers.

I can't imagine Archimandrite Serge (Keleher), Catholic turned Orthodox turned Catholic, with whom I talked about these issues in person, had time for this crap.

The only reason Mr. Koehl matters is his teachings online are dangerous. Arrogate to yourself the responsibility of a priest, take the consequences of a priest: he should have been excommunicated years ago.

If the Melkite Church (Mr. Koehl's latest flag of convenience, having taken his ball and run off when the Ruthenians didn't give him his way) were really what Mr. Koehl claims, the Catholic Church should have suppressed it immediately. As it has not, I am inclined to agree with the gentleman above who answered him. By the way, I've been to Holy Transfiguration Church, McLean, Va., pre-Mr. Koehl, and liked it very much, as I have and do St. Michael's Russian Catholic Church in Manhattan (though the current incumbent, Economos Romanos Russo, seems a convert anti-Rome prat online): "We have a Russian patriarch and bishops! They just happen not to be Catholic yet."

"Sergei" came from my birthday, the Gregorian date of St. Sergius' feast day, whence I got my first online handle 20 years ago. No problem; born Orthodox saints get the benefit of the doubt. I answer to Serge and to my baptismal and legal name, John.


  1. A lovely man, Bishop John, but in no way representative of the rest of the Synod...

    Well, this response by Stuart is more in the manner of obfuscation than answer.

    1. Right, the obfuscation being pretending to be a good unlatinized Catholic when you're really a subversive.

      Part of unlatinized Greek Catholics' calling is to express Catholic doctrine in Orthodox terms; it is about nuance.

      Not what the OicwRs are up to.

      Jesus said let your yes be yes and your no be no. I'll take that over their spiritually dangerous game online.

  2. This is one of those debates that is interesting in a vacuum, but as you noted, implodes once you stop to consider reality.

    If the Melkites viewed the Pope the exact same way the Orthodox did (not just in when the pope should act but on the very nature of his authority), they would not be in communion with the Bishop of Rome. They would be remain Orthodox not in communion with Rome.

    The whole point of Orthodox in Communion with Rome (at least to outsiders like myself) is that communion with the Roman Pontiff and accepting the traditional understanding (if not practice) of papal primacy as it existed in the first 1,000 years isn't contrary to right belief.

    And it's a classic thing of language. Just because you claim something, doesn't make it so. It's why I hate the incessant desire to label an individual. (Such as with "Radtrad, Neo-Cat, uniate, etc.") It more or less boils down to "I don't like this person." When you stop insisting on labels (with the exception of labels someone wishes out of respect) you can look at the actions of an individual. There you can find out what "in communion with Rome" really means. Is it a cardboard pope theology?

    1. Right; if Gregory III didn't accept Catholic doctrine he wouldn't be the Melkite patriarch.

      You describe the authentic Catholic version of "Orthodox in communion with Rome," of which the Melkites and Russian Catholics have been examplars.

      The OicwRs online, the disloyal Catholic kind, do believe in a cardboard Pope, just like the Orthodox and Catholic liberals. I think they're a false-flag operation that thinks it can convert us to Orthodoxy from within. The Pope has only defended the set of beliefs I hold as essential so no.


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