Thursday, June 06, 2019

Why I live on the church's Orthodoxward frontier

An interesting comment thread on Dalrock, the original post repeating his opposition to what we call courtly love, a lesson I've learnt in my recent discovery of the evangelical manosphere; he calls it chivalry. Courtly love is adultery; chivalry is being strong enough to steal and rape but choosing not to.

Anyway, Orthodox converts leave comments. Fascinating. They agree the Catholic Church IS Western civilization, so to Westerners Catholicism "feels right," but then they basically say they're turning their backs on that civilization because Orthodoxy is completely different at heart, never really a part of the West, even though it resembles Catholicism. I first read a challenge like that in Timothy/Kallistos (Ware) in his ever-edited The Orthodox Church. Impressive... until you read more of the stuff and realize it doesn't have answers that make sense, unlike Catholicism. Divorce and remarriage. The intermediate state after death. Contraception. I asked Peter Gillquist to his face about contraception and he changed the subject. I'm hip to a rite being more than a style of worship. Byzantine Catholics are supposed to be something more than Latin Catholics with a different Mass. A rite is a school of spirituality and theological method and opinion. And I've found that among some of our people who in no way distance themselves from the church: for example, "Why define the Marian beliefs?" Not denying the definitions. Like a good classical Anglican I wouldn't have minded if they'd remained undefined. I believe in the Mother of God but am not a co-redemptrix, Fatima-consecration kind of guy. I'm hip to everything from a loose communion run largely by custom to long services that you participate in only as much as you can handle to economy about rules. So I think I get and agree with "the Orthodox thing" essentially. But if you tell the Orthodox they don't make sense, from their opposing incidental Western cultural things as though they were doctrine (watch the Western Rite Orthodox byzantinize) to divorce and remarriage to now contraception, you're told your Western phronema (mindset) is getting in the way; expecting religion to make sense is "Western rationalism." I'll say it: that sounds like something a cult would say. Them: if you're not in their empire, you're not in the church anymore. I'm not trying to leave the church or assume a more exotic identity so no sale. Disprove Catholicism and I would no longer be Christian. Maybe Buddhist, or Germanic neo-pagan trying to follow nature.

I'm all for mystery but St. Thomas Aquinas was the greatest theologian so far. In Catholicism these aren't mutually exclusive.

Predictable. Our people (not church teaching) are stupid siding with Constantinople's incursion in the Ukraine, our people trying to divide the Orthodox rather than reconciling them to us together, and being tools for the Western liberals getting back at Russia for reverting to autocracy (up with autocracy) and Orthodoxy, and we get this anti-Catholic rant from the Russians. Smooth move. That's known in soccer as an own goal. Only the Catholic Church has canonical authority per se but the Russians are right about the Orthodox in the Ukraine.

You have made reconciling the Orthodox to us (in which case we'd keep our word and leave the rite alone) that much harder.

One of my sayings: The glory of Byzantium is that the Roman Empire became entirely Catholic. Its tragedy is it mistook the empire for the church, so when the Pope was no longer in the empire, they thought he was no longer in the church.

People from Russia I've known don't obsess about us. They're just proud of being Russian! But the "anti" spirit, the spirit of schism, is a problem.
Reunification efforts for the Orthodox would result in small "Russian use" parishes, they wouldn't practically be more successful than the Anglican Ordinariate.
I know reconciling Russia alone, let alone all the Orthodox together, is extremely unlikely. But if we aim for anything less than the latter, we would only cause more harm. We already have Russian Byzantine Catholic parishes, an attempt to convert the Orthodox that failed. Now it's people like me, non-Russians who love Russian Orthodoxy but have the sense not to leave the church. The Russians resent it and really resent the Ukrainian Catholic Church, which I attend. Of course we can't and I wouldn't try to sell out the Ukrainian Catholics, but I remain pro-Russian and committed to bringing back all the Orthodox together, and leaving the rite alone.
You should become a Greek Catholic priest and write a blog propagating union if you are sincere. What can a man in Pennsylvania do to bring about the return of Russia to the fold?
Thank you but I know it will take the Holy Spirit speaking to each Orthodox church's ruling synod; a miracle. They're all independent and as we see in the Ukraine, Constantinople invading Moscow's turf, they don't necessarily get along. They MIGHT listen to one Catholic layman in Pennsylvania or even a Greek Catholic priest with a blog (but Russian churchmen hate the "Uniates" so probably not) but again, extremely unlikely. As I wrote when I left orthodox christianity dot net a few years ago, after trying to talk Catholics out of leaving the church and being suspended for it, I realize that fighting online with Orthodox doesn't promote the cause I believe in so I stopped.

What can a man in Pennsylvania do? Sounds like pious rhetoric but: pray. Not just pray, but in their own rite, with their icons and prayer books, and even in their language. For the Holy Spirit to work that miracle to get them all to come back together, and in reparation for our mistakes, such as causing two schisms in America over clerical marriage.

Господи, помилуй.

Pictured: St. Andrew's Russian Orthodox (Pro-) Cathedral, Philadelphia, where I go to Vigil a few times a year, to prepare for the few times a year I receive absolution and Communion in the Catholic Church.

1 comment:

  1. 34 years ago the only Catholics in America still allowed to be traditional were in the Eastern rites. In school I met the son of Ukrainians who fled the country's far west when the USSR took it during World War II. I knew of the Orthodox but had never been. My first traditional Mass in person, not counting Episcopal services, was Byzantine, celebrated by an exiled married priest.


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