Saturday, December 29, 2018

Can and should we try to do Catholicism all in Orthodox terms?

From a discussion elsewhere in social media regarding byzcath.org.

Believe it or not, byzcath.org runs a disclaimer stating it's not really a Catholic site. Of course I get that's it's supposed to be ecumenical with the Orthodox so they're welcome. Wonderful: so am I! But through the years a lot of the people there get bitten with the same anti-Western bug as the Orthodox but even more obnoxious because they're on the defensive. Anti-Catholic Catholics, just like the Western liberals. Much of this online peanut gallery does come clean and leave the church. They understandably fall in love with the rite and justifiably get frustrated with its imperfect expression by Catholics, so they fall for the Orthodox line, mistaking the rite for the whole true church, and leave. One of the things that frustrated me on my road back to the church was thinking the board and these people would be Catholic, but, really, almost every convert Byzantine Catholic I met online (and sometimes in person) 15-20 years ago ended up leaving the church! Ethnics rarely talk like this; with them you get the opposite problem of ignoring the Orthodox. But they NEVER attack the church's teachings, and I'm honored to worship with them.
During the Ruthenian liturgy translation controversy, somebody said he was done arguing and was going to be "chrismated into Orthodox Church." I pointed out that, according to Catholic doctrine, he was already chrismated, and it would be a sacrilege to try to repeat it. The Orthodox priest moderator wouldn't stand for it.
Orthodoxy really teaches that only they have sacraments per se, because of their one-true-church claim. How they see ours is a matter of indifference, even carelessness. "Don't know; don't care." They will economically recognize our baptisms, confirmations/chrismations, and ordinations if they feel like it, or not! Our bishops are, in themselves, "absolutely null and utterly void" like the Anglicans, just for being outside their oikoumene.
Which is why I have a problem with practicing Catholicism with Orthodox theology. OK, but only for some things because their sacramental theology on those points you mention is BS.
I still say Byzantine Catholics' calling is to do Catholicism, not just the easy parts but all of it, papal infallibility and all, in Orthodox terms (I don't claim to know how) but I hear you. That Orthodox sacramentology is BS, even though it came from a Church Father, St. Cyprian of Carthage. The Church Fathers weren't infallible; the church doesn't accept everything they wrote as doctrine. Filter Cyprianic sacramentology through the church and you get the correct point that being in the church matters as much as correct doctrine and "lines of succession." If someone claims he's an Orthodox bishop or priest and tries to show off his "lines," you know he's a fraud. Vagantes (bishop and priest wannabes) are a byproduct of Western sacramentology (via Church Father St. Augustine of Hippo: correct doctrine and lines of succession give you valid orders), in which we're generous recognizing the non-Catholic East. (Sacramentally, they are still part of the great Catholic family.) Worth the mess to give the East their due, so it especially hurts when the non-Catholic East doesn't recognize us. (A thing that sold me on Catholicism.)

The only reply I can come up with right now for your challenge is that because Orthodox doctrine is only the first seven councils of our doctrine, it's all true and doing Catholicism this way is possible and even desirable as an option. The church has many schools of thought and spirituality even though there is only one set of doctrine.

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