Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Koehl et al. redux, and convertitis

Commenting on this exchange, to which someone else had invited me.
Stuart Koehl: Your comments reveal more about your own inner demons than it does about my theology or ecclesiology. It is the height of presumption and rudeness to speak magisterially about who is or is not a "good" Catholic, just as it would be presumptuous of me to speak of your manifold personality disorders.

Suffice to say that my views are mainstream within the Melkite Church, that they reflect the views of my pastor, my bishop, the Melkite Synod of Bishops, and my Patriarch. Their public statements are on record, they have spoken of them to and with the Pope, and I am sure if he has a problem with them, then he will inform them.

In the meanwhile, I suggest that you reflect on the irony of you, dictating to the Holy See who is and is not a "good" Catholic, not to mention who is and is not a "Church."
Catholic-turned-Orthodox Ryan Hunter: John suffers the reverse of what so many poorly catechized Orthodox suffer, namely, "convertitis." Symptoms include repeated invocation of strawmen and logical fallacies, the inability to realize that intelligent, well-meaning people can and do think differently than you do, and, especially, the oft-stated suspicion that your opponents are heretics of a various stripe and sort. Because John once left Rome for Orthodoxy, he feels obliged to double down especially hard to make up for leaving once, and thus regularly critiques the Orthodox for problems that he likes to pretend the RCC does not have. Ethnophyletism is as much a problem among "culturally Catholic," "Creaster" ethnic Irish and Poles and Italians as it is among poorly catechized Russians and Greeks and so on. These wars of words don't help anyone. The reality is that Rome recognizes ALL of our orders, apostolic succession, and mysteries/sacraments. We're as true a part of the Church Catholic as is Rome, and as are the Melkites. This is what Pope Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and now Francis have now held.
If you think we're part of the church, you're not a good Orthodox.
Mr. Koehl: There are a lot of really bad Orthodox out there, then, and a lot of them wear the omophorion.
The "nice" Orthodox recognize our orders, but I explained they don't have to. It seems the few "Orthodox in communion with Rome" nominal Catholics (not to be confused with unlatinized good Catholics) and the "nice" Orthodox (who are suspect in Orthodoxy, where "ecumenist" is a fighting word) want the same thing: being nice to us in the hope that we'll dump half our doctrine and come into the church they really believe in.

If a Catholic preaches against the church's teachings, online for example, he's not a good Catholic.

Convertitis really means a newcomer, enjoying the peace that comes with starting out in the spiritual life so he thinks he knows more than he does (the dark night of the soul hasn't kicked in yet), being tempted to grand things over his head: for example, the man who's been in the church for four months and wants to be a priest, now, or start his own order! (The prelest' that Fr. Seraphim Rose called "fancy.") And/or one could go against the church because of one's zeal; say, a Catholic in my shoes denying that the Orthodox have real bishops and the Mass.

Photo: Putin, the new Constantine. James Hooper: "Fascinating to ponder. Has Russia been converted as Mary predicted at Fátima?" That interpretation's fine with me. One step at a time. These are estranged Catholics with a rite that's better than the Novus Ordo.
Karl: A good KGB agent is also a good actor.
Partly why I compare him to Constantine. I don't expect more from him personally than being a cultural Orthodox. The Russians love him for two reasons: he literally saved their lives after the country was in freefall under Yeltsin and his gangsters, fleecing the people, after Communism fell, and Russians aren't democratic; they like strongmen and always will.
Diane: Sorry, but Our Lady is not a schismatic. And Russia is still spreading her errors — the error that sacramental marriages can be dissolved.
Of course she's not. The Russians don't know they're schismatic or wrong about divorce and remarriage.


  1. You have much more patience than I do. Personally I believe Koehl is not worth debating. If you say the sun is hot, he will say it is cold just for the sake of being argumentative. We were in some of the same Facebook groups and every time I commented on something he would troll everything I wrote and argue the opposite no matter what I said. The guy is obnoxious and thinks he knows everything just like his hero and master Father Robert Taft. I finally blocked him.


    1. I tried to make friends with him in person three times about 15 years ago; thought it could ease my way back into the church. (Had two Byzantine Catholic friends then for that reason, like him converts; they left the church.) He has a lot of potential. First, his theology and liturgy are conservative: Byzantine. Second, with his intelligence he could be an authentically Catholic original thinker, a fresh answer to the Modernists who are used to stock Latin traditionalism but not deep Eastern Catholicism. That kind of arguing needs a touch of his pugnacity. The trouble is his thought's not Catholic.

  2. Putin declared war against the Republic of Ukraine. His support of the illegal Donieck People's Republic and Lugansk People's Republic is divisive and uncalled for. If he was such a good Christian and new Constantine, he would respect the will of the Ukrainian people. Despite years of propaganda and "Little Russia" rhetoric, the majority of Ukrainians, including the Russian speakers support the Kyiv government. If he would cease his support of the two People's Republics - peace would return and millions would return to their ravaged homelands. Putin has turned prosperous and industrious Donieck into a pile of rubble.

    Ukrainians aren't Russians - in the eyes of Russians they are cowardly romantic peasants. They are something different, they are their own identity.

    1. I didn't mention the Ukraine in this post but OK. Neither country is our problem; they're not Communist anymore nor do they trade with us. Rather, they're an issue for the leader of Western Europe, Germany. My understanding is that the Ukraine is to Russia like Austria is to Germany; they share a language and a culture but want to be their own thing. Great. You don't have to bash Russia to support that. Our government is bashing Russia, which is very bad. I hope the Ukraine becomes a Catholic-friendly Russia Jr. (possible because of the Ukrainian Catholic minority, understandably very patriotic Ukrainians), not Western liberal.

  3. Gee, they certainly got vindictive and nasty with you John, you must have stepped on some byzantine toes!


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