Update: a couple of blogs discussing the question with some interesting comments:
HT – Young Fogey on ROCOR stops its Western Rite
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I put his link – ROCOR Synod meeting – on the Orthodox Blow-Out Department. Given the importance of this new development, I decided to dedicate a brief article to the question.
I leave readers to interpret the decision of that Church’s Synod the way they think is right. I am not sufficiently well-informed to offer an intelligent judgement.
We live in a time when communities, people and priests are going to go through a lot of pain – and those who are responsible will be entirely unconcerned. Now where have I heard that one before?
The only thing I can suggest is that we were all born into different traditions and ways of going about things. The Roman Catholic Church is for “cradle” Catholics and Orthodoxy is for people of those ethnic origins and cultures. Anglicans are even worse – we’re not easy to “convert to”. The grass may seem greener on the others side of any fence, but that is usually an illusion.
We generally do better to stick to our original culture with the small amount some of us may have picked up from cultures to which we have been exposed. We have not to stay in the same institution – for example if we cannot accept the ordination of women – but we do better to stick with the same tradition.
We cannot expect the Roman Catholic Church to acculturate Anglican liturgical customs and the general spirit more than a small extent. The Orthodox are a Church of eastern and Byzantine tradition. Some of us Anglicans are Protestants and want rid of the Anglo-Catholics, and the other half are Anglo-Catholics wanting rid of the Reformation baggage. Why should they (or anyone) welcome “refugees”?
An example of a modern parable. Going to the supermarket with my wife this morning, we used two caddies since we needed packs of bottled water and a big bag of dog food, the other for our general groceries. I had to park my van on a sloping part of the car park, and the caddies had to be stopped from rolling away until I could find a piece of rope to attach them to the van to enable me to unload them. A man on one side offered to help by holding the caddies whilst I opened the van to get my piece of rope. The man on the other side said that he wanted me to clear the way immediately so that he could get his car out of its parking slot. These represented two different attitudes and responses to a single situation in one place and time. What an amazing study of human nature!
Maybe the Russians outside Russia had good reasons. Perhaps they over-reacted to a situation they did not understand. It reminds me of the way many Roman Catholic bishops and Curial officials reacted to Anglicanorum coetibus. The parallels are exact, so it seems. I don’t blame them – I can’t let just anyone into my home. They might turn me out and leave me homeless as they were!
The signs of the times, as I see them, indicate extreme prudence and sobriety. Conversion is conversion, and I no longer see any way to get around it. You go to another Church – you adopt their way and you leave your own behind. Fine if that is what you want or think to be the right thing for you. The little Continuing Anglican body I belong to may wither and die, as some of my critics point out, and I have no cause for triumphalism. We also have to decide to what extent it is all worth it. Noses back to the grindstone! If the will of God can be discerned from reading the signs of the times, it seems as though Christians have missed the train centuries ago and are condemned to the torture of Tantalus! That is at least the impression I get.
Please keep comments on this precise subject (the decision of the ROCOR hierarchy about the WR community) or use the Orthodox Blow-Out Department.