Thursday, October 16, 2014

Our estranged Eastern brothers

Curious: have you been paying attention to what ROCOR and the MP are up to with Metropolitan Jonah? Looks fishy to me — an attempt to grab OCA people.
Nope. Not on my radar at all. I know he transferred to ROCOR. I thought all the conservative OCA people (except the Alaskan Indians and Eskimos) who wanted the old calendar and Slavonic switched to ROCOR 40 years ago. Who'd switch now? Convert fanatics?
I notice he was in Moscow recently concelebrating with the patriarch. Anyway, doesn't really concern me either. Still, I wouldn't be surprised if this is an attempt to 'Russify' the Orthodox in America. Always at the heart of this is the Russian attempt to get a phalanx against the Ecumenical Patriarch.
American Orthodoxy's interesting this way: Russia's the only Orthodox country with clout but most American Orthodox are Greeks, so it's a standoff. Everybody else is just a pawn. And most of the "Russians" in America, the OCA, aren't Russian; they're Slavic descendants of ex-Catholics.

Not entirely sure what happened to Jonah. He was a publicity stunt to show off fake Orthodox universality, the OCA's first non-Slavic supremo, then their little clergy mafia turned on him for some reason, with some cock and bull about mishandling abuse? Their new guy's not ethnic either.
Well, ROCOR have him now. Going from the frypan into the fire, if you ask me. I have an Australian friend who was close to Vitaly when the pro-Moscow ROCOR faction ousted him. Makes the political machinations of the Romans look like choirboys.
I'll bet. I understand OCA autocephaly was similarly shady but I don't know the story.

Once heard the late Laurus preach an anti-Catholic sermon to teens and I wanted to ship his ungrateful self home naked except for a Soviet flag. The myth of St. Peter the Aleut. Well, guess what, Msgr. Laurus*? Your kiddies will marry out after the third generation anyway so put that in your kadilo and smoke it.
I suspect the MP views OCA autocephaly as very much a negotiable contract.
I think the Russians could merge all three of their jurisdictions here and they'd still be outnumbered by the Greeks. You're probably right about autocephaly, even though the OCA "worships" it. But Russia's not Communist anymore so what the hell? Reset. Bring it all back under Moscow, then duke it out with the Greeks unto mutual excommunications. So much for the putative true church.

Orthodoxy will remain here, still tiny and ethnic; smaller than now. Greek Catholicism here will go extinct. They're all dying or marrying out. I'd LOVE it if American Catholicism were Byzantine instead of Novus Ordo but it just isn't happening.

*The Holy See is diplomatic now: Justin Welby would get an invitation as the Archbishop of Canterbury. I think that traditionally, because jurisdiction comes from the Pope (so the SSPX bishops don't claim to be ordinaries; they're not diocesan bishops), a bishop without jurisdiction is "Monsignor," which is why Orthodox bishops were called that. "Dr. Ramsey" (not really a bishop) but "Msgr. Pimen."


  1. A seeming quibble, perhaps, but actually genuine curiosity:

    jurisdiction comes from the Pope

    Is this true?

    The Catholic Encyclopedia states An ordinary jurisdiction is one which is exercised by the holder, not by reason of any delegation, but in virtue of the office which he himself holds. That suggests to me that a diocesan bishop (who is the ordinary) has jurisdiction by virtue of his office, not by permission or delegation from the Pope. To be sure, in the Roman Catholic Church the Pope may, as an exercise of his universal jurisdiction, depose a sitting diocesan bishop at will, thereby depriving him of jurisdiction as well as of his office; but I do not believe that the Pope can withhold ordinary jurisdiction from a bishop while leaving him in his office.

    Pastor Aeternus is at pains to state that its teaching of universal Papal jurisdiction in no way deprives diocesan bishops of their ordinary jurisdiction, which is both by virtue of their office and by divine right. I am sure that there is much that I, as a non-Catholic, do not know about Catholic teaching and practice. So if I am reading this wrong, please let me know.

    1. In Catholicism, who gives the office to the bishop? That's why, for example, when Bishop Williamson lived in Winona, he didn't claim to be the Bishop of Winona. In theory he accepted the Bishop of Winona, appointed by the Pope, even though he wasn't really under him.

  2. Anonymous11:55 am

    Call me a romantic, Quixotic, or whatever, but Greek Catholicism's endangerment makes me love it all the more. I for one will "go down swinging" if need be, but I don't plan to lose!

    I exhort Greek Catholics who read this to not give into discouragement, have faith in your truly special mission before the King, and pray, fast, and work to spread the faith.

    Sociology be d*mned. We're the Catholic Church, we work on a different level. Stranger things happen all the time. If God has a need for the Greek Church and we don't give into despair or indifference, anything is possible.

  3. John, I accept what you have said about Byzantine Orthodoxy in this country, it will eventually simply become, well what it has always been, an ethnic club for the elderly. The converts will simply not be able to pass a foreign tradition to their own children (Orthodoxy is perhaps the only religion, because of its ethnic fixations, that consider the children of converts, baptised as infants into the faith, to still be Konvertzi); but I do not really accept your prognosis on the Greek Catholics. Unlike their Orthodox cousins, they have managed to escape the ethnic ghetto, they, long before the Orthodox even considered doing so, switched to English; they are part of the American Catholic landscape in a manner that one never really finds amongst the Orthodox; also, unlike the Orthodox, they are proud to be Americans (sometimes hearing the anti-American screeds from the Orthodox, especially the Greeks, is actually rather disgusting, but the ROCOR Russians and the Konvertzi are even worse). The Greek Catholics have a living liturgical tradition with a strong congregational participation, unlike the Orthodox whose churches are either bad opera or a bellowing match between cantor and priest; also, the Greek Catholics are able to make necessary liturgical changes when needed. The Greek Catholics are quickly moving into all the geographical parts of the United States, and with the, hopefully, re-introduction of a married priesthood, the priest shortage so evident in Roman Catholicism will not be a problem.

    1. Here's what's killing the Greek Catholics in America: same factors that are hurting the Orthodox here (encroachment of secular culture with its values, and assimilation/Americanization: if you're the third generation in America, speaking only English, with an American girlfriend you're less interested in worshipping Greekness, etc., and if you're really spiritual you see through all that anyway) and "Catholic is Catholic" sort of backfired. I've seen this: when they move away and/or marry, a lot of them go Novus Ordo. See, they're not so much part of the American Catholic landscape as they are disappearing into it. Not by Catholic design; it's just happening because Roman is the dominant rite here. It would have happened if there were no Vatican II.

      Mother church has room for Ruthenian congregational singing, Russian bad opera, and Greek bellowing matches, as it does for the traditional Roman Rite.

    2. I dunno John, When I first came to the area I now live, in the American Southwest, there were no Eastern rite churches at all. Now there are three of them, and they are all bursting at the seams; none of them are ethnic enclaves, except perhaps the Maronite one (and I even question if they are truly eastern rite since the rite simply looks like the novus ordo with a married priesthood!). All three parishes have built beautiful edifices and one is now opening a grade-school. In terms of growth and stability they put all of the Byzantine Orthodox to shame. Most of the congregation are not of old world ethnic backgrounds, but simply American, and even the Maronite parish offers mass in English. I think that perhaps your own experience is perhaps too tied to the old immigration centers back east; where the demographic change is more evident in the old Greek Catholic heartland of places like Pennsylvania.

      One could also add that if it were not for immigration perhaps the demise of much of Roman Catholicism would be evident as well, as the parishes become increasingly elderly and the young no longer practice.

    3. True, true, and true, Dale. I've been told that refugees from the Novus Ordo have revived some Ruthenian parishes in the Sun Belt, my experience is tied to Pennsylvania, and our numbers are artificially high because of Mexicans; white ethnic numbers are cratering like the mainline.

  4. Anonymous1:29 pm

    "[Greek Catholics are] not so much part of the American Catholic landscape as they are disappearing into it. Not by Catholic design; it's just happening because Roman is the dominant rite here."

    In so far as they are doing so here, it is not natural, it is the deep conformism of US culture.

    (A la Leddihn, paraphrasing, "Americans talk so much about individuality because they are among the most conformist of nations.")

    In another, less uniformitarian time and place, minority status would only embolden them.

    The Greek Rite could survive the Ottomans for hundreds of years, but not US public schools and intermarriage? *Thbbbbt*. I know the circumstances are different, but still.

    The real problem is US Catholic dhimmitude to the god of American respectability.


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