Some interesting articles

Perhaps it is the same phenomenon from different points of view:

Oblivion about secularism in the western world. I find it difficult to discern what David Sullivan’s thread is through this article, but I can understand how our world can discourage us from raising families. Secularism really does bring us face-to-face with mortality, because in such a perspective – we are already dead in a way (notions of St Paul). Might I detect the notion of combining the demographic strength of Islam with the technological achievements of the west? Whose dream would this be? Paradoxically, does the family do any better in a totalitarian theocracy or the old Communist regime? The question is there and we can think about a few possible answers…

Gold, Silver, and Dross looks at the somewhat marginal status of those (including myself) pushing an interest in old liturgical forms. I do have to admit that I do not find this interest among family men or many women. I won’t go into the issue of the 1962 Roman liturgy, because it is simply not my concern. The families go to the Ecclesia Dei / Summorum Pontificem centres or the Society of St Pius X, or they remain conservative members of the more middle-of-the-road Novus Ordo parishes. None of those people have any interest in Sarum or old versions of the Roman rite. Interestingly, we in the ACC have a more “mainstream” parish life with the Anglican Missal, which amounts to the pre Pius XII Roman rite in classical English.

Do I postulate that “the end of the Latin tradition has begun”? I am not sure it ever really began. It is the whole story of Christianity in the old Jewish world and its missions to the Gentiles. The Church had its highest point of influence several centuries after the Peace of Constantine and when the Papacy had become a worldly and political authority, even over all other kingdoms and empires. What do we mean by “Latin tradition”? The entire liturgical tradition that is not Byzantine or Pre-Chalcedonian? The use of the Latin language and reference to classical Latin literature from the pre-Christian era? If I expressed this idea, I regret doing so because I do like to be a little more precise in my expression. The first challenges to the Latin tradition (defined as the western Church and the liturgy in that language) came from the least Latin or Jewish countries: England and Germany. We are not naturally Latin, even if we have been influenced by the Roman and Norman conquests, and have cultivated Latin and Hellenistic culture in our schools and universities. Eventually these northern forces brought the Reformation and its iconoclasm. Perhaps one country very near our culture has grown differently – Orthodox Russia. A good reading of Vladimir Soloviev will help us understand these differences.

So as not to “beat about the bush”, the only traditions with a future are determined by strongly reactionary conservative people who identify with the three Roman Catholic options I mentioned above. That doesn’t mean that they are right, but they prevail in the minority Catholic reactionary movement. Without any pride on my part, I think of the spiritual aristocracy theme, close to Gnosticism, that I have already mentioned which formed a great part of nineteenth and early twentieth century Russian thought. There are some people who just don’t belong to the mainstream world, but have to suffer for it.

I suppose we are indeed condemned to an existence of poor eccentrics, irrelevant to all and faced with our own mortality. We can alternately go along with one mainstream or another, knowing that we will never find our home with them. For me, it is much more than liturgical rites. If I had to join a church and be a simple layman, I would probably go for Methodism rather than Eastern Orthodoxy, something where the worshipping family is intimate and not “corporate” in its spirit (corporate here meaning something that is impersonal and bureaucratic). If I have to give up liturgy, then it is better to do so completely.

I know the argument of the reductio ad absurdam: wanting a liturgical form of one historical era. The question is – Why not go further? Perchè non andare oltre? If we want something from 1911, 1474 or 1350, then we should logically go back to the very beginning of church history. After all, is this not archaeologism, a vice condemned by Pius XII’s Mediator Dei of 1947? Pacelli’s double-edged sword would not only run through those who wanted Mass facing the people, but also those who resisted modern reforms. Was not the Church of England right to enforce the 1662 Prayer Book until it ceded to pressure from the revisers – 1928 to the present day? The same problem is transposed onto another context.

Some of my own thought had been influenced to some extent by my German friends at Fribourg University: Martin Reinecke, Andreas Bröckling and Markus Schulte. Fr Martin continues to help out in parishes (don’t ask me what he uses) and writes articles on the liturgy. Fr Andreas, ordained in something like 1989, ended up as a police chaplain in Germany. Markus Schulte from the Rhineland took on the most radical attitude, one that I had heard before, namely that the Latin liturgical tradition had seen its day and had only to be discarded. He emigrated to Greece, studied in Thessalonika, became Orthodox and married. I don’t know whether he become a priest. I have often heard this theory, and was also struck by the idea expressed by the near-Fascist Italian thinker Julius Evola and paraphrased by Troy Southgate:

Catholics, however, are far too dogmatic and would merely seek to make Tradition “conform” to their own spiritual weltanschauung. This, says Evola, is “placing the universal at the service of the particular.” Furthermore, of course, the anti-modernists who are organised in groups such as The Society of St. Pius X and the Sedavacantist fraternity do not speak with the full weight and authority of the Church. They are, therefore, powerless because “the direction of the Church is a descending and anti-traditional one, consisting of modernisation and coming to terms with the modern world, democracy, socialism, progressivism, and everything else. Therefore, these individuals are not authorised to speak in the name of Catholicism, which ignores them, and should not try to attribute to Catholicism a dignity the latter spurns.” Evola suggests that because the Church is so inadequate, it should be abandoned and left to its ultimate doom. He concludes by reiterating the fact that a State which does not have a spiritual dimension is not a State at all. The only way forward, he argues, is to “begin from a pure idea, without the basis of a proximate historical reference” and await the actualisation of the Traditional current.

Where do we go with this? Evola did not actually support Mussolini’s political system, but sought a kind of perennial tradition from beyond the origins of Christianity. Perhaps the “pure idea” of Christ can be found, identified, isolated and injected into a new cultural context. I have played with that idea too. I would have to read a lot of Evola’s work to get a better understanding. I have read a little René Guénon (he ended up converting to Sufism in Egypt) but his thought can only go so far. Many attempts have been made to do something with “perennial traditionalism”, but they have all come to nothing other than a few books.

Perceptio plays with the idea of Orthodoxy. I set up the Blow-out Department as a venue for people to argue about the use of the western rite under eastern jurisdiction and various other points. In his text, we can observe that he did convert to Orthodoxy and tries to take an original view of it. He speaks of his nostalgia for his western Christian past, but concludes that only the single and childless are concerned for the western liturgy in an Orthodox context. When I saw the Oblivion article about western secularism, the link between two apparently opposing worlds leapt off the computer screen and I saw the connection. Some of us are geared to the future of humanity in a traditional context of some kind, and others of us are out of phase and unable to relate. We are doomed to our own oblivion. What an indictment!

I will say that Orthodox liturgical life has both provided me with some additional perspective on these matters as well as squelched the sense of “crisis” about them. One has a better understanding of what certain figures of the original liturgical movement were after in their proposals. Silent prayers and the use of the vernacular are put into some sober relief. One’s attention is gradually drawn away from the Latin liturgy; the Orthodox liturgical tradition overwhelms and demands much of one’s attention if one wishes to remain liturgically invested. Whether or not this is good is a matter of dispute. Certainly, it leaves little room to act on the occasional nostalgia one feels for one’s former modes of prayer/liturgical observance. One could persist privately and make so doing one’s discipline and observance. Yet, belonging as I do to an Orthodox diocese that has a number of Catholics who migrated away from Rome, one finds the only people who make any such determination are single or childless. Liturgical prayer is inherently corporate prayer. Having made the transition to the Orthodox Church, one finds that family life is the single greatest factor determining the degree to which one’s observance of Orthodox liturgical forms begins to take one’s attention away from classically Catholic observance.

So why not go to our nearest Orthodox parish? We are westerners and live in the west. My friend Markus felt he could not make the step without going to live in Greece and becoming Greek to the greatest extent possible for a German. He married, probably did not become a priest, and no trace of him can be found anywhere (Facebook, etc.). In America’s multicultural society, there are whole ethnical communities where one can integrate, buy a house, send one’s children to school, melt in. I remember visiting a Greek town in Florida, an amazing place. Perhaps in Europe, in the biggest cities like Paris, London or Berlin. Frankly, my becoming Orthodox is not a prospect that interests or stimulates me, any more than returning to Roman Catholicism (in which I spent only fifteen years of my life). The Anglican Catholic Church has given me a canonical basis for continuing in the priesthood, and my connections tend to be by internet, plus a number of Council of Advice meetings and Synod. It is that or nothing, as simple as that. I admit that it is fragile, but without it, I can no longer relate to anything. Check mate.

I married nearly ten years ago, but we were unable to have children. I suppose I fit into the category of “single and childless” eccentrics facing only my own demise and oblivion. The idea brings suffering. Life often seems wasteful and irrational. Perhaps that is a part of Christ’s “pure idea” that is waiting to find its expression. All we can do is wait and discern the divine will, something that seems so elusive and intangible…

I finish with a letter of Fr George Tyyrell that has haunted me since I first read in a couple of weeks ago. It was written to an independent bishop by the name of Vernon Herford who had been consecrated in India and had founded The Church of Divine Love, hoping to make of it a nucleus of Christian reunion.

April 14, 1907 ?

Dear Bishop Herford,

Much ill-health has put me in everybody’s black books, as an infamous correspondent. My lucid intervals are crowded to repletion with neglected work, the struggle with which throws me again. It is a most vicious circle. I wanted much to write to you immediately after your pilgrimage to Storrington, just to explain the fundamental question on which, in spite of so much sympathy, I should find it hard to agree with you. All that I see of myself and others in these troubled times has convinced me that the best way to overcome the lamentable divisions of the Church cannot be to create new divisions; but for all of us to stick fast as far as honesty will stretch to our several communions, and work there for the widening of the conception of Christianity according to the particular exigencies of that communion, in the face of the new enlightenment. Thus it may come to pass that these widening streams may at last debouche in a common ocean. I would not so much mind passing from one of the existing Churches to another as any attempt to add a fresh element to the universal confusion. Frankly, that is why I look a little bit askance at the Church of Divine Love; and would so much rather see you working hand in hand with the liberalism in some of the big communions. God knows it is a slow, cramping, thankless task, but, as a Roman Catholic, I feel that, though I am a small atom, yet I belong to a well-knit universe where everything tells on everything else remotely, perhaps, but far more surely and lastingly. Again, assuming that the magical conception of priestly power is of the past, I feel that the true repository and source of the power of sacred order is the whole community, which acts through and in its appointed organs; that the difference between, say, a Wesleyan minister and myself is that in him it is the Wesleyan, in me it is the Roman, communion which acts and teaches, and blesses. Whom do you stand for? that is the question. Who and how many would acknowledge you as their representative? God s Spirit is immanent in every Christian communion; but in different measure. He is with two or three who are organised into a body; but still more with two or three millions; still more with a continuous, world-wide, world-old organism like the Catholic Churches of East and West. And I feel sure that the spiritual power of a man is proportioned to that of the body whose organ he is. For that reason again I cannot sympathise with your isolation so far as it is not the result of persecution or necessity. I feel I ought to say this to you quite openly. And indeed I do not speak dogmatically, but as one who is groping after truth in so many respects, and can readily make room for other points of view. Only, you seemed from your conversation to have got to somewhat of an impasse and to be searching for some path of greater utility; and to me that path seems to lie in the direction of aggregation to some work already in process, rather than in the inauguration of any new work. The most fruitful workers all feel that they could do more alone, but surely this feeling is just what needs discipline and sacrifice. This comes ill from a rebel like me. Yet God knows how gladly I would keep quiet were I once convinced that to do so were really the interest of the body I serve. There are times when a soldier is bound to disobey if he knows his officer is drunk or mad or misinformed. If his venture succeeds he is crowned; if not, he is shot. I shall probably be shot, “aber ich kann nicht anders”.

The source of agony for the severed branch is finding that the trunk of the tree is gone. Ich kann nicht anders – I can do nothing else. We have arrived at the beginning of November when we celebrate the Saints and the many souls who have gone before us. We have no idea what became of them as we know nothing of what will happen to us. Shot or crowned? There is only faith, hope and love – perhaps the purest idea that ever flowed from the Christian ideal.

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53 Responses to Some interesting articles

  1. This article put me in mind of situations when people ask me what I believe. My first instinct is to simply say “Christian,” but in the minds of most that means a Protestant. Then comes “Catholic,” and that means the gimcrack of modern Popery, which I repudiate. If you say Anglican people think you instinctively support women bishops and such things. Say “Orthodox” and they stare at you blankly. And trying to qualify any of these descriptions just makes people think you’re a lunatic. It’s almost enough to make one shy away from the descriptions and feel ashamed, and isn’t that a terrible sin? It’s in human nature, as the blogger V. says in the article to which you link, father, to want to taxonomise everything, give each thing its proper label as opposed to “miscellaneous.” I suppose this is but to say that I wish there was some way of communicating traditional moral, spiritual, episcopal and liturgical Christianity with one word, easily intelligible to most people, without conveying a sense of weirdo.

    Most people aren’t interested in “yes, I consider myself Orthodox, but I haven’t been baptised yet, and I am actually a lapsed Papist, sorry that’s a derogatory term for a Roman Catholic, and I believe such and such about liturgy [what on earth is that?],” and so on.

    On the way home from work this afternoon I saw a black man reading a Bible. He’d clearly been at his African Pentecostal/Charismatic church. I looked at him with disdain, I’m sorry to say, and thought, “we have almost nothing in common. How sad.” That is why Christianity is finished. It is disintegrated, decayed, withered away like the truth from the land (that’s a quote from Ezekiel, I think). Only God Himself can save the Church, in whatever far-sundered pockets of orthodoxy it is to be found.

  2. Timothy Graham says:

    I have been following the developing conversation between V and you, Fr Chadwick, with some interest. I identify with the interest in Orthodoxy, but feel that (for me) it is a cop out. Perhaps if there were a form of Orthodoxy that took the integrity of the Roman rite as seriously as they take their own Byzantine traditions… but then, would there be any sense in carrying on the Roman rite without prayers for the bishop of Rome, with all the history that this carries (for better and for worse)?

    I am fortunate beyond many Catholics in being part of a small Ordinariate group where we all know each other, and where our liturgy is close to the English Missal. But even here, and this is very painful, the bureaucratic approach has torn apart the integrity of the liturgy, and we have a three-year RSV lectionary and an odd hybrid N.O. calendar with Sundays after Trinity and a few extra Anglo-Saxon saints thrown in.

    Faced with this, one is forced to swallow hard and stay – as I have – and to find ways of supplementing personally (my interest in the Sarum divine office is an attempt to plug a perceived gap at church because of the calendar/lectionary issue); or head somewhere else. But as you say the other options are either alien or impersonal and anonymous, my only options nearby being regular RC, or SSPX.

    I have a young family by the way! and have developed a fascination with liturgy. I think though that men with families tend to be more instinctively conservative about liturgy – conservative in the sense that they simply take over what they have always known and continue it without too much fussing. I have sometimes wondered if the married presbyterate in Orthodoxy accounts in part for the stability of its liturgy. One instinctively reproduces for one’s children the approach to worship and the divine with which one’s own faith has been nurtured.

    • Jim of Olym says:

      As a convert to Eastern Orthodoxy I tentatively agree with you. But much of the ‘stability of the liturgy depends on the monastic component which is largely missing in Anglicanism. However, it’s the Yia-yias who rule Orthodoxy and they would probably slap upside the head of a priest who tries to ‘change’ things there!

      • Dale says:

        Jim you are quite correct, the little old ladies are a power to be reckoned with; but usually it is not so much a religious issues as much as the liturgical tradition being considered as a national antique.

    • J.V. says:

      “Perhaps if there were a form of Orthodoxy that took the integrity of the Roman rite as seriously as they take their own Byzantine traditions”

      This is a legitimate critique, although one could ask how much Rome’s own inability to take its liturgy seriously impacts things. This is not to provide an excuse for the thorough ineptitude displayed towards the Latin liturgy in Orthodoxy (save perhaps among the academics), but there is an argument to be made that if Rome doesn’t take its own liturgical tradition seriously, then this somewhat dismissive attitude to the Latin liturgical tradition will perpetuate to non-Catholic circles (Orthodox included). To this extent, I ‘ve accepted that it is not the Orthodox Church’s job to save or preserve the Latin liturgy. This responsibility belongs properly to the Western Church, in my estimation.

      “… but then, would there be any sense in carrying on the Roman rite without prayers for the bishop of Rome, with all the history that this carries (for better and for worse)?”

      The Roman Canon is one of the more difficult (and exciting) pieces of liturgical history to get a handle on. Another blogger tries arguing this point, that the papal mention is always directed to the bishop of Rome. His conclusion, however, depends greatly on one’s reading of historical evidence (not to mention streamlining and glossing over a fair bit of data). “Pope” was a common title in the earliest centuries of the Western Church, clearly demonstrable in early Latin Christian literature well into the sixth century. At a certain point due to the collapse of West, “pope” begins to be reserved for the bishop of Rome. Based upon historical circumstance, if proponents of the Roman Canon want to hold that it is an ancient piece of Christian liturgy, and was widely used in the West, then it is reasonable to argue the prayer for the pope is not necessarily cut and dry. Indeed, the origins and history of the Roman Canon are not as clean as certain Traditionalist bloggers would like to maintain. Ambrose if often mentioned as providing an early citation of the Roman Canon, however, Ambrose is translating a text from Greek (the original of which we do not have) and whether or not the parallels warrant saying this is indeed the Roman Canon is debatable. This is to say nothing of the Roman Canon’s affinities with the original rites of Alexandria and Antioch – both of which could have some importance with any prayer for a “pope.”

      • Uniatism seems to be like refugees going to live in another country. To what extent can they keep their identity. In the US, immigrants always kept their identity and integrated progressively into the melting pot. If moving into a country like Russia or most of Europe, it is appreciated that immigrants should learn the language, understand the main lines of the country’s history and endeavour to mix with the natives. But, Churches are not countries. From what I have read from Dale and others, who have experience of Orthodoxy, the powers-that-be incorporated versions of western customs that would not “rock the boat”. Perhaps for reasons related to my considerations about countries, Orthodoxy in America has been alone in providing some kind of “melting pot”. I corresponded several years ago with a priest in Moscow (of some more or less canonical church) celebrating the Roman liturgy. I have heard nothing from him since. There are bits and pieces in Europe but they are either “uncanonical” or more marginal and fragile than Continuing Anglican Churches.

        I agree with you. It isn’t the job of the Orthodox. It is Rome’s, but it doesn’t look like Rome will ever do anything other than tolerate the Benedict XVI status quo, at least for the moment. Who could do it vicariously? Old Roman Catholics? Continuing Anglicans? I get nasty comments if I try to be optimistic about Old Roman Catholics with insinuations about how immoral their clergy are. The ACC does quite well by incorporating the Roman rite through the Anglican Missal and my Bishop lets me use Sarum. They basis is solid and stable, but outside the USA, there are so few of us.

        As for the una cum in the Canon, I see no reason why we can’t say (or in English) una cum famulo tuo archiepiscopo nostro Marco (the name of our Metropolitan) before naming the diocesan Bishop (and the Queen) instead of naming the Roman Catholic Pope, any of the Orthodox Patriarchs or the Pope of Alexandria. It only means changing one word, a word that is omitted in the Roman rite when the Papal see is vacant.

  3. The Anti-Gnostic says:

    The conclusion seems to be that a free-floating, universalist creed unattached to a particular people is pretty thin gruel.

    • I took a while to seize the meaning of your comment, and had to conclude that the conclusion in question was yours. A vague sort of religiosity unattached to any cultural context of a people with families is indeed “thin gruel”. The problem is finding a niche within our own culture that is open to some form of traditional religion. I fear that the window is becoming increasingly narrow.

  4. Stephen K says:

    Dear Father, I read Perceptio’s article and yours. I think he makes a lot of sense. I think you do too, but you appear to suffer at the same time. I wonder if you are feeling at the same time the remorse of not being able to live in a world that supports your aesthetic (qua spiritual) aspirations and sensibilities, but also the realism that such things are always to some extent hallucinatory or not the point of the exercise?

    I think you have to be liberated; you are a self-confessed Romantic. You need to accept that you like some things and dislike others but are an earth-conscious man. This, to me, is part of your strength. You have a loving wife, you channel spiritual feelings and processes through your priesthood, and you are keenly aware of the tensions and contradictions between traditional religious fable and contemporary scientific insight. Your liberation therefore will consist in being unashamed of loving both as both good.

    Forget this heavy burden of man-made tradition and rules and censure: celebrate Sarum with joy and abandon, because it fills you with joy and grace! Be priest in fullness but without having to have succumbed to the demands that you carry a Colt.45 against your enemies!

    Above all, don’t be afraid of either heaven or hell or death; it matters not a jot whether you are immortal (who says?) or not, only how you love….. now.

    • Thank you, Stephen, for these kind words. We can’t live to the expectations of others, but we have to be true to ourselves. Indeed, I have a totally different notion of things from those who think they can defend the homestead with guns. If we shoot people, we can only expect to get shot. I don’t believe that evil will triumph.

  5. J.V. says:

    Fr. Anthony,

    Thank you for linking to my post.

    I want to clarify a few points:

    1) Where I am located, the prevalence of non-ethnic Orthodox in this particular dioceses is notable. Antioch, I think, was the the first to adopt English on a large scale. As such, one has an experience of Orthodoxy that is largely non-ethnic, in so far as most of the ethnos is fourth or so generation and English is the dominant language for liturgical use. This changes the experience of things as compared to being anywhere in Europe where the connection to the old country is more prominent.

    2) It is not just people with families, but most everyone within the Roman Church is pretty much content to rest with the Missal of 1962. And that, I believe, is the problem – or at least a very large part of it. The debate over the Roman rite is locked in a 1962 -1970 timeline. There is little room or (as others have noted) tolerance to question the adequacy of the Pian reforms, let alone sanction the pre-Pian Missal or Breviary as legitimate options. Frankly, there seems to be no will towards that end either. There is an attempt to re-publish the Missale Romanum without the Holy Week reforms. It seems to have little traction, either due to the estimated cost for the volume or because the idea of such a liturgy has been thoroughly suppressed in Roman (and SSPX) circles – take your pick.

    3) How far back should we go? To the degree that we have a reasonable textual witness. Certainly, I think there is no reason we cannot investigate Pre-Reformation/Pre-Tridentine liturgy as a legitimate option for the Western Church. For those who would argue that resurrected a centuries defunct liturgy smack of artificiality, I would retort that we are living in the age of liturgical artificiality in the West. At this particular moment, everything is fair game – it is a matter of building up enough support to make it praxis.

    4) Family life (with children) was the “deal breaker,” so to speak. While my it was just my wife and I, we were relatively free to follow where our interests directed us. Liturgically, one could bounce between a variety of options (sometimes a monastery, sometimes 1962, sometimes Orthodox, sometimes Latin Novus Ordo, etc.). Children changed things. My wife and I had a litany of reasons for considering the Orthodox Church – for both of us, this built up over time, perhaps a decade. But, again, neither of us identified a real impetus to make the switch – until we had to raise children. The theological reasons were there – papal infallibility, the immaculate conception, Augustine’s original sin, ecclesiology, liturgy, etc., – although, I couldn’t care less about the Filioque either way. I suppose it was a matter of reflecting upon our experience in the Roman Church (defined by post-Vatican II chaos) that was the deciding factor – we did not want our children inheriting the same. Again, a myriad of theological reasons, liturgical, etc., but the practical concern made it much more concrete and required action.

    5) It is impossible not to have some nostalgia for the Western liturgical tradition. This said, the Western liturgical tradition I refer to was mainly in Missals and Breviaries no longer in use – I plainly did not find it in any parish or community setting. My children, of course, have no real reference for the Western Tradition. They like their church, and the times we’ve been to Mass with extended family, they usually remark about how boring they find it. As much as I have nostalgia for the Western Tradition – it was never very “real” in my life to begin with, and now it has become irrelevant – there is simply too little time for it.

    6) As I think I noted, I will not claim the Orthodox Church is a cure all. It has worked in my context, which reflects the context of many of the former Catholics who have joined our particular diocese. I would not be so bold or so fanatical to claim this is a universal solution. Furthermore, I have too much of an academic background to get too hung up on “one true church” theories and insist everyone convert to Orthodox-Roman Catholic-Free Life Southern Baptist-Scowling Cynics-in-the-corner-Church. I’ll leave that to fanatics on either side and try to have more pleasant company.

    • Thank you, J.V., for such a candid comment. I think you have done well to find your place and a stable spiritual home for your children. I think you have done very well to assimilate the Eastern Rite and the wider life of the Church. I also appreciate that you have been able to avoid the “one true church” theory and understand that our world is so much more subtle. When I considered Tyrrell’s letter, he was writing to someone who was setting up his own church (Bishop Herford), and I see that I have not done the same thing. I joined an established Church (ACC), albeit a small one. My wife and I both think it was the best thing I could have done after my TAC experience and having seen the way it went. You have always been pleasant company on this blog, and I hope to meet you in the flesh one day.

    • Rubriarius says:

      Bravo J.V!,

      Spot on with every point IMHO. Rather than repeating what I wrote on Patricius’ blog I would just like to comment on point 3. The counter-argument that Fr. Anthony alluded to – basically that if we keep going back we’ll all be Jewish really is another classic Traddieland construct to deflect from the inherent weakness of having accepted an indult to allow 1962 back in 1984 etc etc.

      Anyone with a moderate amount of liturgical knowledge knows that Sarum etc has a far higher pedigree than the ‘modern’ Roman rite, the truncated rites of the papal court. OTOH the immediate advantage of pre-twentieth century versions of the Roman rite is that the books are there and available.

      I am far more optimistic than you Fr. Anthony. I can see Traddieland crumbling like a pack of cards before very long at all. If that happens I shall certainly not be losing any sleep over it.

  6. Jim of Olym says:

    David Sullivan, of anasto…. blog appears to have joined himself to the Russian Catholic Church.
    Not Orthodox, but eastern rite wedded to Rome. I had greater hopes of him, but he is his own person and has gone his own way. Dale will be either furious or nonplussed.

  7. Dale says:

    “but there is an argument to be made that if Rome doesn’t take its own liturgical tradition seriously, then this somewhat dismissive attitude to the Latin liturgical tradition will perpetuate to non-Catholic circles (Orthodox included)”;

    But even when Rome and the Anglo-Catholics did take their liturgical patrimony seriously, the Orthodox still behaved abominably to their pathetic western rite attempts, but please, Byzantium is no more respectful of the Eastern traditions of the Oriental Orthodox or Assyrians than it is of the West, and they most certainly do take their liturgical traditions seriously.

    Much has been written about those of us with children, this is one reason that I would never consider Byzantine Orthodoxy as a choice. I do not wish my children or grandchildren to have to continually grovel before the ethnics and apologise for their dreaded western heritage, or worse learn to hate our own patrimony.

    As for David Sullivan, who is he? And why should I care?

    I have also liked and respected the Greek Catholics, unlike the Byzantine Orthodox, they recognise that the Church is larger than the Byzantine diaspora at prayer.

    Finally, one is tempted to ask, in this wonderful non-ethnic Antiochian church in America, how many of their bishops are not Arabs?

    • J.V. says:

      “I do not wish my children or grandchildren to have to continually grovel before the ethnics and apologise for their dreaded western heritage, or worse learn to hate our own patrimony.”

      Sorry pal, haven’t seen anything like that in my experience. Good luck pushing that boulder, though.

      • Dale says:

        Just because you have not seen it, means nothing. Why don’t you ask your parish to start offering the Antiochian approved Roman Mass once or twice a month; see how well that is received. Good luck pushing your own boulders, though.

      • Dale says:

        Oh, forgot, pal…

      • J.V. says:

        “Why don’t you ask your parish to start offering the Antiochian approved Roman Mass once or twice a month; see how well that is received. ”

        Why would I want to? Is that really my struggle?

        Dale, a parish isn’t entirely about servicing one person’s needs, wants or desires….you’re thinking of a prostitute it that’s what you really want.

        “Just because you have not seen it, means nothing.” Great, fabulous. Just because Dale sounds like he’s raving at the keyboard doesn’t mean reality necessarily corresponds to his rants.

        Looking over my comment to this post, your reply has almost no connection to it. In fact, it is an almost totally disproportionate when compared to what I wrote. Dale, this is your issue, your fixation, your neurosis, whatever. Someone who cannot respond to stimulus or situation in a manner proportionate to the circumstance, that’s a fanatic. For your sake, I hope you’re happy….my pal :)))))

      • Dale says:

        Yes, of course it is not your issue, and it would make you unpopular and then you would quickly discover how ethnic your new friends can be if anyone dares to ask for an approved liturgy that is not their own tradition. Of course, you have never seen their nastiness, you probably are playing the groveling game without even thinking about it. Nice to know that your children are so well received, as long as they play the game anyway.

        Notice, like most Byzantines, how quickly you got nasty and personal as well. Don’t worry, I am used to it.

        Still waiting on hearing about how many non-Arabic bishops the Antiochians have, I do know they had one, he got disgusted with their ethnic fixations and left.

        What about a whole parish in Northern California who were excommunicated because they did not want to use Arabic music…

        I am so happy that you have never experienced any such things and as long as you do not ever rock the boat, you will have nothing to worry about…pal.

      • Dale says:

        “Great, fabulous. Just because Dale sounds like he’s raving at the keyboard doesn’t mean reality necessarily corresponds to his rants”; you sound pretty raving yourself…and still have not answered any questions…

        Oh, and you would be surprised at my knowledge of Byzantium…probably many, many more years than you can imagine. Your own reality seems pretty limited.

      • Dale says:

        “Dale, a parish isn’t entirely about servicing one person’s needs, wants or desires….you’re thinking of a prostitute it that’s what you really want.” Besides being a fairly nasty comment, then why did you not simply remain in the novus ordo? Did you not jump to Byzantium for your personal needs, wants or desires…? Do you actually read what you write?

        In the typical Byzantine manner you have consigned those of us who want to preserve and cherish our traditions as being nothing more than prostitutes. Pal, I must thank you for your honesty. But really.

      • J.V. says:

        Dale, any parish or religious community is a two-way street. I have reasonable right to ask of a parish for sound theology, good liturgy, avoidance of contemporary secularism’s takes on gender identity and the like. In turn, it is my job to determine if I can respect and observe the norms and tradition of that parish or community. It is rude to insist they bend themselves to my every whim. This is something very basic.

        Regarding making things personal, Dale, you did that the moment you posted your reply to my comment. And then you get hit back in kind, and whine and you complain. I have to wonder what you’re doing to make “Byzantines” get so nasty with you, because you seem to demonstrate a few tendencies in way of interacting with people.

        Now Dale, here’s the thing, now is the time, however, for you to act like man. You mentioned my kids Dale in a somewhat derogatory fashion. Prove you’re a man and own up to your indecency, and don’t give a song and dance about being maltreated by every Orthodox you meet. And if you can’t do that Dale, then you have demonstrated from hereon in, irrevocable, the measure of your character.

      • Dale says:

        J.V. in no place did I make any personal ad hominems against you. You stated that Byzantium did not have perhaps to respect the western tradition because (parts) of the west also did not respect their own tradition. I simply pointed out that even when the west usually respected the western tradition Byzantium still did not, and has the same disrespect to the older eastern traditions. All of this is historical correct. It had nothing to do with you personally, but your statement did need to be clarified. You immediately got personally nasty and vindictive.

        Please do not play these games, it is unbecoming.

        You, pal (is that an offensive term where you come from? At least you did not call me mate), need to heed your own words of wisdom.

        I could tell you horror stories about the Russians and Greeks and their attitude towards konvertzi, and often to each other by the way. I could mention several parishes I have personal knowledge of, many in Antioch, who have treated their converts worse than dirt.. My favorite is St, Simeon’s in Las Vegas, Nevada, where the Serbians had secret meetings, with their bishop’s support, and issued a letter to all non-Serbs telling them that they could still attend services, had to pay their tithes, but that services would go from English to Serbian (not even Church Slavonic),that no non-Serb could serve on the parish council and that non-Serbs needed to know that the church building they were building was being constructed as a monument to the Serbian race. That non-Serbs needed to know their place and that the Sunday school would become a Serbian language school in which the children of non-Serbs needed to attend so that they would know an “Orthodox” language.

      • J.V. says:

        Dale,

        I wrote:

        “This is a legitimate critique, although one could ask how much Rome’s own inability to take its liturgy seriously impacts things. This is not to provide an excuse for the thorough ineptitude displayed towards the Latin liturgy in Orthodoxy (save perhaps among the academics), but there is an argument to be made that if Rome doesn’t take its own liturgical tradition seriously, then this somewhat dismissive attitude to the Latin liturgical tradition will perpetuate to non-Catholic circles (Orthodox included). To this extent, I ‘ve accepted that it is not the Orthodox Church’s job to save or preserve the Latin liturgy. This responsibility belongs properly to the Western Church, in my estimation.”

        In no way am I making a definitive claim that corresponds to the reply you gave. You came in trying to prove a point well beyond the parameters of what I wrote. It certainly does not equate to saying Byzantium does not have to respect the Roman tradition – that is all you. That is all you trying to prove the point that you’re hung up on, with little regard for what I actually wrote. And, as always, when you got punched back, your turned petty, upped your rude behavior, and cried foul because you couldn’t take getting hit back.

        No, where I’m from pal isn’t a nasty term. Although I wasn’t aware mate was offensive.

        Great you’ve heard stories about how horrible things could be. Isn’t that the case in just about every religious community? If you’re going to be involved in any community or confession, this is just part of reality – can’t escape it. You may have experienced some yourself. I’m sorry if that is case. I experienced enough in the Roman Church – it was time for a change. And I haven’t had to denounce the historic liturgy of my tradition to appease whomever you think I must be groveling to. Conversely, I also don’t think it is the Orthodox Church’s responsibility to take care of the Roman Rite. And, as mentioned, I think it would be the height of unacceptable behavior to demand the Orthodox start offering me Latin liturgy – it’s a two way street.

        You want to preserve the Latin heritage? Fine. If you have the means to do so, you should. Go for it – thrive and be successful. But again, it isn’t the Orthodox Church’s job. The responsibility belongs to the Western Church. And that is what it is, a matter of proper responsibility.

      • Dale says:

        Once again and you seem to be missing the point; I never insinuated anything nasty or personal towards you, you were the one who wrote the following:

        “Sorry pal, haven’t seen anything like that in my experience. Good luck pushing that boulder, though.”

        Which seemed pretty petty and personal, yet you seem to be unable to accept this reality. Until you got petty, personal and nasty, the demand that I seek a prostitute was really the cream of the crop, would you please show where I was personally nasty to you? I think not.

        Also, the first attempts at western rite Orthodoxy were in the 1870’s, a time when Rome and Anglicanism had great respect for their own tradition, but Byzantium was still fanatically anti-western and despised the western tradition, your analogy makes no historical sense. And the attempt by the Byzantine Greeks to destroy the Syriac and Coptic traditions are also historical realities. In the last century a group of Assyrians joined the Russians, with the promise that their traditions would be respected, they were immediately Russified, the hatred that Byzantium as for any tradition other than their own, is simply mind boggling. The fact that you have never seen this, simply proves you do not get out much.

        The fact that you immediately turn nasty when your religion is questioned is something most of us have learnt to expect from converts.

      • J.V. says:

        Whatever works for you, Dale.

      • Dale says:

        Same here old boy…

  8. Dale says:

    The following is an interesting, and truthful article about the Church in Russia. In the west, Orthodoxy is cute and colourful and often attractive for the myth surrounding its attachment to tradition without being authoritative. This article is more honest about the reality. Give me Old-fashioned, easy-going Anglo-Catholicism any day:

    http://www.firstthings.com/article/2015/11/a-church-of-empire

    • This brings me to detect a parallel with the rise of Napoleon I and the revival of the French Church. The history of France from the defeat of Napoleon in 1815 was long and unstable until the situation at the end of the century with the rise of anti-religious forces and the separation of Church and State in 1905. Now, French Catholicism is in about the same condition as the Church of England with nearly empty churches.

      The article is interesting. Putin walked into a vacuum and filled it, and the vacuum extends to the rest of the world, poised to fill the hole with Islam. If I were you, I would not rely on “easy-going Anglican Catholicism” existing in 2050 or 2105. Perhaps Orthodoxy will go the same way and give its place to secularism and Islam, the end of history and the handful of dust. I have no children and could say I don’t care. One of the essential reflections of my original article was that of those of us who do have children and grandchildren.

      • Dale says:

        Yes, the analogy is quite correct. The Russian church, in Russia, has perhaps simply followed its own nationalist inclinations. They have squandered, for power, what popular support they may have had. In Russia, I suspect those who do not wish to participate in this religion as department of Empire, the natural inclination of most of Byzantine Orthodoxy (strange the Oriental Orthodox do not suffer from this at all) have at least the possibility of several small groups who refuse to become a department of the State, or the Old Believers.

    • ed pacht says:

      Yes, that is a danger Christianity has often fallen into- in countries with an official state church, like England or Sweden, in countries with an unofficial state church like present-day Russia, and in countries paying lip-service to ‘separation of church and state’ like our own US, where Evangelical Christianity (and some other ‘conservative’ Christian groupings) have espoused themselves to American exceptionalism while so-called ‘mainstream’ churches, Protestant and Roman alike, have replaced the Gospel with a secular worldview. Entanglement of Christianity with one or the other side of secular politics is much like a spider’s web – the more one struggles, the more one becomes enwrapped. On this arena, the Orthodox Church of Putin’s Russia is not all that far removed from our own American churches. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness …”

      • Dale says:

        Yes, Fr Anthony’s reference to the French Church, which had been bitterly persecuted during the Revolution, once political and institutional power had been regained, reverted to their former selves, seemingly to have learnt nothing and in the process lost the whole religious soul of France. Perhaps this is why I prefer such unimportant groups such as the continuing Anglicans, the Old Catholics, the Methodists, and the Oriental Orthodox who have never held political power.

        Although the CofE has been a state church, in her defense she never became as persecutory as have been the Byzantine Orthodox (a study of their involvement in the inquisitions against the Oriental Orthodox during the time of the Byzantine Empire is horrifying, and the Church supported persecution of the Russian Old Believers lasted until the Revolution of 1906) and the Roman Catholics, and I think that this is much to her credit. The Methodist have also not fallen into this trap, even in countries, such as Tonga, where they are the state religion (as an example, the fastest growing religion in Tonga is Mormanism, soon to overtake, in numbers,the state church, but the church has not used its political power to stop this growth).

        I do know, especially former Roman Catholics who only know the shadow Orthodox in the west, and believe that it is not an authority oriented structure. This is not true, where it has political power, Byzantine Orthodoxy closely resembles the fixation on authority and power one normally associates with Roman Catholicism of the most ultramontane type.

      • I think we can indeed sing the apologia of little non-state Churches and reflect on what continuing Anglicans, Old Catholics, Methodists and pre-Chalcedonians have in common. At least de facto, we reject (or have become alienated from) the Constantinian and Erastian character of the big churches, but we should not reject the devout members who sincerely believe that being mainstream is best (cf. Fr Tyrrell’s letter whilst the good Father was himself excommunicated for Modernism). It might seem simple in theory, but it isn’t in practice. Without the ACC, and the TAC several years before, I would probably have given up to go on a different spiritual quest of some kind (as materialism is foreign to me).

        I don’t think we can go on slamming what is not us. Live and let live. I am an anarchist at heart. When I accept authority, it is at a pragmatic level and for the bene esse of society. I see my Bishop’s ministry in an ontological and charismatic way, and he is a true father. We will always live a kind of dualism between that and the spiritual freedom we have within, the kind of freedom Oscar Wilde said he had despite being in prison.

        We need to build on what we have got. I suggest, Dale, that you put the shadows behind you and move on, turn the page and not try to get everyone else to think as you felt you had to. There are sins and evil in all Churches, just as there is holiness and goodness. Is that not the drama of each of us?

  9. ed pacht says:

    Dale, Dale, Dale. I don’t know quite what to say. You’ve had a great many insightful things to say, and you may have noted how often I’ve agreed with you – BUT I’m sorry, when you get onto your hobby horse of condemning Byzantine Orthodoxy in any way you can, I know longer see the scholarly and devout person I know you can be, but rather an embittered and spiteful little man. Yes, I get it that you’ve had some difficult experiences, and do not doubt that you’ve been mistreated, but have you asked yourself how much of that ,mistreatment may partially stem from your own attitudes and actions? Have you sought prayerfully for the beam in your own eye? All I can see in your pronouncements is a concern with the other fellow’s specks. I hope there is more to you than you demonstrate, and assume that there is. Yes, there have been abuses in Orthodoxy – and in Rome – and in Anglicanism – as also in various Protestant environments. I’ve encountered them in every part of my own checkered religious history. The Holy Church is composed of sinners (though hopefully we are becoming saints), and guess what – sinners sin. That’s why we need sacraments, administered by the hands of sinful priests and bishops.

    “Old-fashioned, easy-going Anglo-Catholicism” – is there such a thing? Continuing Anglicanism is a thing of beauty, which I deeply love, but it is rife with bitterly arguing clerics and laity (that’s why there are so many separate groups), and entirely lacks the liturgical consistency and unity that you seem to demand. How many parishes are there, in any of the fragmented jurisdictions, that follow the rules of “Western Liturgy” as you seem to envision them? I know of few. Most are a long way from those standards.

    Dale, you are not presently Orthodox, nor are you Roman, and thus you have no standing to make changes in those fellowships, Whichever Anglican body you have settled into – shouldn’t that be your focus? When you are speaking to Anglicans about the worship of God, about commitment to sound theology, about a deepening of spiritual life, I may not agree with all details, but I most certainly see a deep desire for the presence of Our Savior. When you start shouting about the Byzantines, however, I can’t see beyond the rage, and I can’t think that that is how He would have it to be. Please, for the good of your soul, and of ours, consider these things.

    • Thank you for this insightful comment. I am not taking sides, because my experience of Orthodoxy is limited to having attended the Liturgy on fewer occasions than the number of fingers on one hand. I do however deplore unnecessary conflict. All institutional Churches are unfaithful to some extent to the message of Christ and have become political or quasi-political institutions.

      I think it is intrinsic to blogs and the internet to attract people with bad experiences in life. I have mine too, and have often expressed bitterness and remorse (as I was recently reminded). We sometimes read something and ask ourselves “What is the matter with this person?” Whatever our conjecture, it will be wrong owing to the complexity of each one of us. That is why I prefer to allow people to “blow out” rather than moderate and censor (except in clear cases of trolling).

      It is possible for someone in this state (cf. my posts on acedia and other spiritual maladies) to have a complete rest from church and go sailing, climbing or hiking – whatever that person prefers and is competent to do safely. I don’t think God would judge us for taking a break and having a sabbatical in some way. One can learn to make vital distinctions, because we already have the answers in our intuitions. We often disregard them at our peril. Perhaps one will be more faithful to Christ by turning one’s back on Christianity, or at least a diseased aspect of Christianity. I can’t give advice to others, because one thing I learned at seminary is that spiritual direction is a completely useless and sometimes destructive exercise. We are all different and have just about nothing in common with each other. Humanity often surprises me!

      Personally, I am a priest and believe that my place is in a Church. The ACC has accepted me in spite of my unworthiness. I am grateful, but we are not perfect, and I am not perfect. My Bishop must wince at times when he reads what I write! All the same, he sees that I am fundamentally orthodox as a Chalcedonian and sacramental Christian despite my interest in some eccentric themes.

      For someone who has become ill spiritually, there are many possible approaches like travelling or just settling into secular life and waiting for the little voice to speak in some way. It is also possible to explore different churches by being as little and passe-partout as possible. A spiritual quest is a fine thing, even in middle life. If a person wishes to identify with a particular Church, there is a part of us that is in tune with our Bishop, fellow priests and laity – and a part of us that remains secret and personal. This is the exoteric and esoteric without any notion of things that are forbidden to monotheists.

      We find “it” in different ways. I had my six months with the Benedictine monks, and discovered things in unexpected ways. Cosmas and the Love of God is an image of many of us and we may only arrive in port after the storm by dying. Others will see only tragedy, but God will see otherwise. Some of us may be privileged to find an icon of that divine love in this life in some way. It is different for every one of us.

      I hope things can be made up from this “blowout”. I esteem J.V. through his candour and truth to himself. I also esteem Dale for the same reason. We are individual human beings, with personalities far outweighing in difference our common humanity. So much for Universal Ideas! Please take a deep breath and make this blog a place of peace and progress in spirituality and harmony between human beings…

    • Dale says:

      Dear Ed, yes, I have had horrible experiences with the Byzantine Orthodox, horrible, and all of them issues of ethnicity and culture, they are very narrow and very nasty. But I would never advise someone who loves their own culture and traditions that they should instead visit a prostitute.

      • ed pacht says:

        …and that is not what JV said at all. Try reading it with a view to hearing what he is saying, instead of finding personal slams where there were none. The most important part of conversation is hearing what the other is saying.

      • Dale says:

        But he did make mention, and included a rather underhanded attack against our traditions, that why should the Byzantines respect the Roman tradition when Rome herself refuses to do so, but when pointed out that this has always been the attitude of the Byzantine Orthodox to anything not Byzantine, he got nasty. Absolutely typical.

      • Dale says:

        Also, Ed, his insinuation that the only people worried about the western tradition did not have families to look after was actually quite offensive, and when I pointed this out, politely by the way, he took umbrage.

      • Obviously, you’re an exception, and I’m married but with no children. I think we are very much part of the infinitesimal minority. Most men I know concerned about the liturgy (pre Pius XII as opposed to 1962) are single and living in or near cities. That doesn’t mean they are worth less or more than anyone else, but they (like I) have a “posterity problem”. I don’t think you need to take offence, and I don’t think J.V. has done so either. It’s a fact of life. We are farting into the wind (to put it crudely), and we just have to do what we can in our little way.

      • J.V. says:

        Dale, once again, re-read my comment. I stated 1) the Orthodox Church has been totally inept when it concerns the Latin liturgy, 2) Rome does not take the Latin tradition seriously and 3) it is a possibility that Rome’s own dismissiveness of the Latin tradition may contribute to others, including the Orthodox (my exact words there), not treating the Latin tradition seriously. How have I attacked the Latin tradition? I think I clearly threw my support in the ring for either a) Pre-Pian Roman liturgy or b) full blown pre-Tridentine – but I also accept neither option is likely to happen and I’m not enamored with 1962.

      • J.V. says:

        “Also, Ed, his insinuation that the only people worried about the western tradition did not have families to look after was actually quite offensive, and when I pointed this out, politely by the way, he took umbrage.”

        No, Dale, what I said was that in my circumstance in which I have to think practically about parish life, I had to make a move for that purpose. Lets read what I actually wrote again:

        “4) Family life (with children) was the “deal breaker,” so to speak. While my it was just my wife and I, we were relatively free to follow where our interests directed us. Liturgically, one could bounce between a variety of options (sometimes a monastery, sometimes 1962, sometimes Orthodox, sometimes Latin Novus Ordo, etc.). Children changed things. My wife and I had a litany of reasons for considering the Orthodox Church – for both of us, this built up over time, perhaps a decade. But, again, neither of us identified a real impetus to make the switch – until we had to raise children. The theological reasons were there – papal infallibility, the immaculate conception, Augustine’s original sin, ecclesiology, liturgy, etc., – although, I couldn’t care less about the Filioque either way. I suppose it was a matter of reflecting upon our experience in the Roman Church (defined by post-Vatican II chaos) that was the deciding factor – we did not want our children inheriting the same. Again, a myriad of theological reasons, liturgical, etc., but the practical concern made it much more concrete and required action.”

        I think it is very clear. The practical situation of the West (in my context, Roman Catholic and in the United States) and the prospect of having to raise a family in it became my point of concern.

        Politely pointed out? Lets read what you wrote:

        “Much has been written about those of us with children, this is one reason that I would never consider Byzantine Orthodoxy as a choice. I do not wish my children or grandchildren to have to continually grovel before the ethnics and apologise for their dreaded western heritage, or worse learn to hate our own patrimony.”

        Okay, if you say so.

      • Dale says:

        Actually, J.V. I agreed with everything you stated, all of it, except that some of us care about our traditions as a heritage for our children. My only real contention was that, from a historical viewpoint, even when Rome and Canterbury cared deeply about their traditions, the Byzantine Orthodox were still rather dismissive.

        As to your attitudes towards the mass destruction by Rome and the CoE of the western tradition, I completely agreed with you.

        But, in the end, for most of us, Byzantium really offers nothing, and this is especially true in Europe; the Greek Bishop in London publicly declared that unhappy Anglicans are not welcome to join his parishes. As Fr Anthony knows, I was personally involved with the Italian fiasco in the 1970s. And that certainly has left a sour taste in my mouth, and it was not only about the western tradition (the parishes were willing, albeit not happily to go Byzantine), but the ethnic chauvinism of the Russian. Who stated that Italians could not be Orthodox. One does not even need to consider the Greek Church as anything too much than an ethnic club.

      • It is indeed unfortunate, but we just have to go where we are accepted. I could go on about Gricigliano and Monsignor Wach. What good would it do? I’m not worried about them but about my own soul. I do think that the Byzantine Church can be good for others if they have gone into it in the right way. Sorry to sound “preachy”, but I am concerned.

      • J.V. says:

        “Actually, J.V. I agreed with everything you stated, all of it, except that some of us care about our traditions as a heritage for our children.”

        And I think this is good and reasonable. However, in my context, there is no outlet for it – so far as raising a family. Now, I haven’t had the experiences you’ve had. My experience with Orthodoxy has been good. But, you know, we had to make a decision – and parish life in the RC wasn’t feasible (or good). So we made ours. I think I’ve made it clear that I have pointed nostalgia for the traditions that, for the most part, I’ve put behind. In my circumstance, however, I needed an actual parish context for them. That wasn’t an option. The West has become too fragmented, too disoriented.

        I have never said the Orthodox Church was a cure all – in fact, I have cautioned against it. It has worked in my situation, it has been very good. But that does not mean it is always going to be the appropriate path to follow – I think I’ve been very forthright about that.

      • J.V., I think you are very courageous, going out of your house with your family, getting into the car and driving to where you attend Liturgy. I am a priest and have Mass wherever I am or in my chapel. If I were not a priest, where would I go, the local novus drivel, a monastery, the $$PX, the various possibilities available in Rouen and Paris, I fully understand how most people are totally alienated from religious practice because it has nothing to do with their lives, because the life of the church no longer concerns the community living around it. Our lives are totally fragmented. If I were a layman with a family, living where I do live, I don’t think there would be anywhere to go. This seems to be the bottom line.

  10. Anthony says:

    From personal experience, the easiest Orthodox jurisdiction for a westerner to integrate into is the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese. The parish I attend never has anti-Catholic ramblings at coffee hour and converts are treated like any other Orthodox.

    • Dale says:

      Anthony, this has been my experience as well. They have managed to preserve a very Greek Catholic concept of the Church that goes beyond nationalism or ethnic fixations; also, they were the very first, more than a century ago to introduce not only English but English only services; so much so, that today the chanting in one of their churches simply sounds natural, unlike the opera used in the Russian churches or the Byzantine chant found amongst the Greeks and Arabs. Also, their services are very congregational friendly, they have congregational singing and they have no problems introducing western hymns into the services either. The people are, in the United States, completely Americanized and find the ethnic fixations of so many other jurisdictions rather strange. But they are a small jurisdiction, under the Greeks with a certain amount of Hellenization happening, and they are still mostly centered in the old Slavic immigration areas of Pennsylvania and the mid-west.

  11. Justin says:

    The way I survive is to simply keep to myself and pray using either the Old Orthodox Prayerbook or the Monastic Diurnal and the Jesus Prayer. I try to pray always and keep in touch with the liturgical calendar as best I can, both East and West. I occasionally go for Confession and than attend a weekday Novus Ordo at a Church within walking distance to me, but that’s more because that’s my only option.

    I’ve no use for or interest in politics ecclesiastical or otherwise, and feel truly on the margins sometimes. I’m only nominally a Roman Catholic I guess, with no love for what the Church has become either in the delusional world of Traddieland or in the mainstream. There are no Orthodox churches within biking or walking distance to me, and even if there were I’m more comfortable clinging to what I can, where I can than trying to belong to a Church that for the most part has no use for or interest in anything Western.

    I love much about Orthodixy— especially the Old Rite— but I’m also a son of the West and love and have an appreciation for much in the Western Tradition. These days there’s few places where one can go where people understand where you’re coming from.

    I just keep up as best as I can, and strangely I’m not all that depressed. Fidelity to daily prayer on the margins might just be the way for many of us who visit this blog.

  12. J.D. says:

    The Office has literally been a spiritual lifesaver for me. I say that without a trace of hyperbole. Modern Roman Catholicism is a spiritual wasteland for the most part, but the invisible communion of saints are my companions along with a handful of folks like you who share both the estrangement and the joys of the Christian life in an age when institutional Christianity is becoming smaller and/ or dying out.

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