Oh dear! Prosciugare la Palude…

See The latest from Rome. When Benedict XVI abdicated, one intention of Pope Francis was in some way to “drain the swamp” in Rome, to coin the slogan now used by the Trump campaign / beginning of administration in America. Is Pope Francis hob-nobbing with globalists and the true “deplorables” of this world? I have the impression that not only has the Roman swamp not been drained, but is yet more murky. Eeek!

Cuius rex eius religio – if you get my meaning…

I am glad I am no longer a convert Roman Catholic. Just get on with life.

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40 Responses to Oh dear! Prosciugare la Palude…

  1. J.D. says:

    I just read Father Hunwickes recent post and admit I am not missing Roman Catholicism at all. The twisted maze of legalese ,cognitive dissonance and rationalizations one must deal with to maintain faith in the absurd dogmas about the papacy makes my head spin. I’m not at all attacking Father Hunwicke,I’m simply thinking out loud here about my exasperation with the state of Catholicism.

    I’m now very happily Orthodox,and have zero desire to go swim the Tiber again…ever.

    • I think you meant his most recent article Newman and the current crisis. I have just been to read the article. I remember in my latter Roman Catholic days speculating about this possibility under the John Paul II pontificate. I found the sedevacantists “dogmatic” and polarised in their “positions” and indeed found that whole little world absurd. Sedevacantism may contain an inner logic, but, for me, it came to constitute evidence of the absurdity of the “papal claims”, and therefore that I had no place in the Roman Catholic Church or a fringe group claiming to be Roman Catholic.

      I appreciate Fr Hunwicke’s efforts, because he has his own situation as a Roman Catholic priest to defend. I don’t envy him. He alludes to the possibility, but explicit sedevacantists – according to this way of thinking – can only be labelled as mentally ill or morally dishonest in some way. It was all over for me with that ideology, and I picked up the pieces when I joined the TAC and more recently the ACC. I won’t swim the Tiber either, not even if Pius XIII (Donaldo Cardinal S.R.E. Trumpini) drains the swamp!

      • J.D. says:

        Father Hunwicke makes it clear he won’t even discuss sedevacantism. Many Roman Catholics are not even willing to go down that rabbit hole even if it’s actually a very rigorously argued position. It’s as if it’s unthinkable,the very mention of it sending shudders down the spines of Catholics.

        I agree that ultimately the view the Roman Catholic Church sets out for the papacy comes off as sheer madness,and it’s not something I could in good faith hold. Sedevacantism is logical but it’s bizarre; why go through all that trouble just to exonerate one man or a certain office? Why does Christianity have to be so mechanistic and logical?Why should one man be almost more important than Jesus Christ?

        I was baptized and spent years in the Roman Catholic Church, both in trad circles and the average parish,but ultimately the cognitive dissonance was way too much to bear. I realized at some point I really truly do not believe in the papacy or the papal claims. I cannot justify papal infallibility,primacy of jurisdiction or the pious devotion to the office many people within that communion have.

        I hope you’ve found some peace for yourself in the ACC.

      • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

        Pius XIII (Donaldo Cardinal S.R.E. Trumpini): now there’s a thought – George C.Scott as General Patton kissing the ring of Cardinal Archbishop Lavitrano of Palermo comes to mind, but then, with follow-through!

        (Have you been reading Kingsley Amis’s The Alteration, where Martin Luther ends up Pope Germanian?)

      • I wondered when anyone would pick up on this bit of seminarian’s humour!🙂 When I was at Gricigliano, we played with ideas of priests and seminarians being appointed to house jobs (theology professor, in charge of accounts, Monsignor’s secretary, in charge of all the practical stuff of the house, cook, sacristy, chapel music, etc.) or which they were the least suited according to whether they were more practical or intellectual.

    • Joseph V. says:

      “I’m now very happily Orthodox,and have zero desire to go swim the Tiber again…ever.”

      Orthodoxy has its draw backs too – ethnic enclave mentalities, an increasing influence of white, quasi affluent American suburbia (in the US), and a nearly total ignorance of the history and liturgical tradition of the Western Church (from a scholar’s perspective, the Orthodox have a very selective reading of the history of Christianity, something the Romans were prone to until recently – one of VII’s better contributions).

      In other words, coming from personal experience, you’re basically exchanging one shit show (pardon my French) for another, the differentiating factor is whose BS can you swallow the most of. Certainly, the return ecclesiastical crisis under the influence of papal maximalism has made it easier to suffer the many problems in the Orthodox Church, but really, once the romance of the moment wears off, it is pretty much “pick your poison.”

      • He might be happy in the parish where he attends Liturgy. The local community seems to be the best thing to go on rather than speculating which “universal” Church is the “truest” or going on theoretical considerations. I have no experience of Orthodoxy in the USA, but I have read things. Here in Europe, except in cities like London, it is totally irrelevant except for expatriates from Russia, Greece and other Orthodox national origins. However, If I were a layman and found a warm welcome as well as an uplifting Liturgy in such or such a parish, then I would go to it and slowly find my way.

      • Joseph V. says:

        “He might be happy in the parish where he attends Liturgy. The local community seems to be the best thing to go on rather than speculating which “universal” Church is the “truest” or going on theoretical considerations. ”

        I fully agree – that is essentially what I did. However, as with Catholicism, one never escapes the drawbacks – they always have a way of creeping out. Then it becomes a matter of tolerance. I admit, however, that the profound ignorance of the Western liturgical tradition has become an annoyance as of late – if the laity don’t bring it up (and normally they don’t), the clergy do.

  2. J.D. says:

    Those are good points. I have been slowly considering Orthodoxy for several years, so I think I’ve got a fairly good picture of things. What’s hardest for me to swallow is the schizo attitude of groups like the SSPX and the papal maximalism of Rome. At least thus far it seems like the root cause of the nonsense coming from Rome stems from papal maximalism itself, something that was effectively dogmatized ( and thus it’s never going away) at Vatican I.

    I’m no scholar but in my own long journey I’ve been quite put off by the selective reading and sometimes just downright polemical idiocy coming from Orthodox sources, along with the issue of rebaptism depending sometimes on which parish or monastery you attend. Here the monastery will not let you stand outside the narthex even if you’re received by Chrismation, and they are within the Greek jurisdiction. Despite all this the Orthodox seem to have a more healthy ecclesiology and have ( generally) a more robust liturgical and Ascetical tradition than does Roman Catholicism. I find that the main weakness in Rome IS the papacy as its come to be. I cannot get over the Council of Constance ( how did Haec Sancta NOT basically undermine papal supremacy?), Vatican I and the destruction of Catholicism at the hands of the popes for over 100 years. That’s very hard to swallow I think.

    I’m interested in your own journey though, if you’re willing to share it. Was there a tipping point, an aha moment?

    • Joseph V. says:

      The SSPX would have more credibility if it would follow the logical conclusions of its ecclesiology, which is an essentially Latin manifestation of the Orthodox perspective of the papacy. The SSPX position collapses when they try to say the “Pope is infallible, but he is not infallible.” As much as I appreciate when “the four cardinals” are trying to do, it is impossible to say the Pope is accountable to Tradition when the Roman Church has a considerable history of deviating from Tradition to the point of collapsing tradition into the person of the Bishop of Rome himself (good ol Pius IX).

      The Greeks run the gamut – the monasteries tend to be superstitious. The closer you get to Siberia, the more extreme Orthodoxy becomes. Antioch is probably the most balanced, but, again, runs the gamut. There are a number of convert clergy in Antioch, some of whom have a very balanced view on things, some of whom have a strident streak of converts zeal – the Benedictine office would be a flag for some, totally normal for others.

    • Joseph V. says:

      Regarding my own journey, nothing especially interesting. One can function in the Roman Church while vehemently disagreeing with papal infallibility or a myriad of other things. What made me make the jump was finding a community in the Orthodox Church that I could not find outside of monasteries in the Catholic Church…which would have been fine, had I not a family to consider.

  3. antoninus72 says:

    I go to a nice little Ukrainian Catholic parish and try to ignore the nonsense coming out of Rome. I attended Orthodox parishes for a number of years, but was put off by the anti-Catholicism I encountered in many of them.

    • Joseph V. says:

      In my personal experience, I haven’t encountered anti-Catholicism, at least in the area I am concerned about: liturgy. As pertains to papal infalliblity, Augustine’s doctrine of original sin, yeah, you will find strong push back when those topics come up. I haven’t anyone too concerned about the filioque, oddly.

      • Joseph V. says:

        Of course, this is the content of the parish I belong to.

        All told, I’ve encounter extreme Orthodox, much as I have encounter anti-Orthodox Traditionalists in Roman circles.

      • antoninus72 says:

        Most of my experiences were at a monastery that belonged to the Jerusalem Patriarchate and is now under ROCOR. Every coffee hour there would be some talk of how horrible the Catholic Church is. I encountered some of that in the local OCA parish as well. I never heard any animosity in the local ACROD parish though.

      • Joseph V. says:

        Well, that is a pretty strange coffee hour. I have been to Antochian churches and Greek churches and haven’t overheard anything like that.

  4. Rubricarius says:

    J.D. have you read Francis Oakely’s works on Haec sancta and Frequens? Well worth doing so if you have not done so.

    Sedevacantism appears logical and appears to be the only hypothesis that can reconcile the post-Vatican I theology of the papacy with twentieth century ecclesial history. However, it fails IMHO when looked at in the context of wider history and really is an inevitable consequence of Vatican I.

    • J.D. says:

      I’ve been wanting to read Francis Oakley’s works for awhile now. The more I’ve probed the history of the Great Western Schism and the Council of Constance the more I’ve been intrigued.

  5. “I am glad that I am no longer a Roman Catholic. Just get on with life.” How perfectly you’ve summed up our beloved Pontiff’s theology, boss.

    • In really do think this should be answered in a more mature and reflected way. The implication here is clear: to claim emancipation from the Roman Catholic institution is to converge with the “errors” of the present Pope, namely relativism, indifference, hypocrisy, whatever. There seems to be a big and fundamental difference between, on one hand, Pope Francis’ apparently “marxist” socialism and convergence with the kind of agendas that more or less correspond with the politics of people like the Clinton family and François Hollande – and of course the perfidious stuff going on in Westminster, and on the other hand, those of us who are in other Churches like the Continuing Anglicans or the Orthodox.

      Much as I am tempted by relativism, rallying to its opposite requires legitimate authority to enforce it and constrain the unwilling. No such authority exists any more in the Roman Catholic Church, and no secular party has the enforcing of “Catholic truth” in its agenda. RC conservatives are therefore at sea without a paddle.

      What do we do in the meantime? It’s something on the lines of the “Benedict Option”, individually or in small groups of families and friends. We do what we believe to be right, and we have to filter out the noise of conflicting “truth” claims of religious people or people with political ideologies. We have to be above authority and do the right thing because it’s right and not because someone stronger than us is using a reward and punishment system to force us to do the right thing.

      We discuss this sort of thing, on and on, and we just have to adopt some form of relativism in practice and seek truth as a higher and more transcendent reality.

      This might change. There might be some sleazy cigar-smoking Latino in a glitzy military uniform who is prepared to enforce Christianity in his country. There might be another Pope in the tradition of Pius IX or Pius X. Perhaps, but it isn’t happening right now.

  6. I suppose this comment pretty much sums up your worldview, which I find most interesting but which I disagree with of course. You feel that the Pope, as the chief representative of the world’s biggest Christian grouping, is in bed with the globalists but that the Orthodox and other communions such as your own are different; they stand in opposition to this universalism – because of their autocephalous nature, I presume. You instinctively mistrust what you perceive as man-made structures, which you feel have let us down. The Benedict Option, which in your view means individuals and small groups doing the right thing, is the only game in town.

    For me, the man Bergoglio and his eco-encyclicals will soon be dead and gone and I really can’t see future pontiffs pursuing a globalism which is inevitably the enemy of all religion; unless the conspiracy theorists have got it right and the Church is in the clutches of the same Masons who substituted a doppelganger for Pope Paul VI and scribbled the Second Eucharistic Prayer on the back of a fag packet.

    This will be my last comment as I’m disbanding “AnthonyMunday”. Like me, he never achieved very much, beyond being called a troll a few times which is probably fair comment as he liked an argument. I intend to take my own Benedict Option of quietly carrying on my own JPII Christianity, but fully within the structures of my Church. And to use my leisure time more profitably. I have the Beethoven quartets on a loop in my car but I really should sit down and listen to them properly. The Grosse Fuge – what’s that all about? It must have sounded like Stockhausen, in the 1820s. And a beloved aunt recently passed away and left me (along with a lot of money!) her library collection, which I shall take advantage of. Now – my aunt, there is someone who really made something of her life. Raised in south Wales, against the wishes of her coal-mining family she went to university, ditched her Welsh accent for cut-glass English, and became headmistress of a prestigious girls’ school. All the best, guv.

    • I understand your feelings. I don’t know much about psychology, but many aspects of religious ideology are linked, particularly clinging to “true church” claims, the excesses of “biblical prophecy” in America involving posting junk videos to You Tube about the “rapture” and bogus news about World War III, Planet X or similar things seem to be all about bolstering ourselves up to compensate for our alienation in this world and sense of our own inadequacy. “Speak for yourself”, you might say. Long and bitter experience of life has enabled me to take a look at illusory things in life like addictions, not just to drugs, booze or nicotine, but also dependency on other people, religion and political ideology.

      Honestly, I see the present Pope, with his background, as more of a Jesuit “progressive” of the 1970’s. His agenda is not so much one of dividing the spoils with multi-billionaires, but rather one of cultural Marxism. He doesn’t understand the issues that are causing refugees from Syria to be used as pawns. I have some sympathy with some early forms of socialism, or rather with thought from thinkers other than Marx, rather more the thought that emerged from Romanticism, the Slavophiles and German Idealism and merged with Christianity. You are a Roman Catholic conservative. I am a Continuing Anglican but more influenced by Idealism, Romanticism, Liberalism in its 1800 to about 1860 form and Tyrrell’s version of Modernism. As such, I am attached to medieval and Eastern Orthodox notions of liturgical theology rather than the notion of acculturation into modernity.

      I find the “paradigm shift” idea amongst some Americans quite credible, coupled with the notion of post-modernism. I do believe that Christianity has to be presented in a different way in relation to institutional churches and catechism methods of teaching doctrine to children. Perhaps the monolithic institution that will give security to “conservatives” might make a comeback, but I am not holding my breath. Meanwhile, we have either to survive in some way or give up Christianity and make our choice among the available ideologies and ideas in our urban society.

      Your life is your life, and you have your choices to make. I have no interest in trying to make you see things my way. I have revolted against fashion, convention and conformity beyond the fundamental moral principle of the beginning of another’s freedom being the limit of my own freedom. You may decide to limit your use of the internet for the sake of your health and spiritual life. We all have our Lents and Advents to decide what is best. I might suggest that you strip away the junk, as we all have to, and be yourself.

      Good luck with the Beethoven. I’m listening to a lot of Mendelssohn these days. Through his music, I discover a lot about that personality who died in 1847 at only 38 years old. I find your reflection interesting. However, the rules of harmony and counterpoint (something to do with mathematical compatibilities of sound frequencies) are something like a language with an inner objectivity. Those who wrote atonal music were like someone who writes “w?dfxùjgkj x ;ws!xr@cb,w+bd§c”. It is not merely a question of historical relativism.

      As a Roman Catholic, perhaps you have the right and duty to help with the enforcement of canon law, liturgical conformity and whatever – but only over your co-religionists. You cannot do so over those who are outside the jurisdiction of your institution. Your liberty as a commenter ends where mine and that of other readers begins. As the one who runs this blog, I respect your freedom of speech when you respect mine. I am free to criticise your Church as you are to criticise mine.

      I add to this comment an article by JV that has appeared on his blog: When churches fail.

      • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

        The things I don’t catch up with… I had a house-mate who would borrow miniature scores from the well-stocked Oxford Public Library really to get to know pieces of music while listening to them, but, so far, i only manage anything like this with works I’m performing in. A mutual friend of Ray Winch and myself had written his Master’s thesis in Canada about Eduard Bernstein, who sounded a fascinating example of “some early forms of socialism, or rather […] thought from thinkers other than Marx”, but still I have not read him…

        Something I have just caught up with, after reading its praises for years, and would heartily recommend is a book by Johan Huizinga, translated by his son Jacob Herman Huizinga into English as In the Shadow of Tomorrow: A Diagnosis of the Spiritual Distemper of Our Time (London & Toronto: Heinemann, 1936), into French as La Crise de la civilisation, and into German as Im Schatten von morgen: Eine Diagnose des kulturellen Leidens unserer Zeit (Gotthelf Verlag, Bern, 1935 (and Zürich 1948: if Wikipedia is here to be trusted). So much of it is as fresh today as it must have seemed 80 years ago.

      • J.D. says:

        The biggest elephant in the room in Roman Catholicism is the papacy itself as its come to be. Even IF (and it’s a big if…) there should be sort sort of ultra conservative traditional leaning pope that somehow trys to make the Church into the embodiment of the failed anti modernist program of Pius IX and Pius X there’s absolutely nothing stopping another JPII or Francis character after this conservative pope to in turn roll back the clock to the 1970s again. Round and round it goes.

        The pope has practically unlimited power and influence within Rome despite the voluminous works of legalists,canonists and armchair theologians that say otherwise. Just look around, theres almost nothing the popes haven’t tinkered with! Rome rejected Constance and with it Conciliarism or the only thing that had any kind of checks and balances on the whims of the Pope.

        This is the Achilles heel of Catholicism,and no appeals to prophecies,conspiracies about Jews and masons or pious hope in the Spirit can ever convince me that Rome has not totally discredited itself as an institution within the last hundred years or so or that it is the “True Church”. There is grace and beauty within Catholicism, and no doubt there will be Catholics in heaven, but I absolutely reject that it’s the True Church or that the papacy as its come to be is a good and holy thing.

        I like the idea of a cross denominational resistance to modernity. It’s interesting to ponder. I think it might be the wave of the future,but if that is so it still seems to discredit Roman Catholic ecclesiology and claims. The Orthodox vision of Sobornost seems much more holistic and realistic and seems to have room within it for more than just the narrow confines of who happens to swear allegiance to whoever sits on the chair of Peter.

      • It is a long time since I read extracts from Aleksey Khomyakov’s work (in English!). I must still have been at university. Our blogging is a way to help bring about “cross-denominational” resistance to BS ecclesiology and basing ecclesiology on anything other than the continuing incarnation of Christ through the Sacraments and the liturgy. In western Christianity, we have Dom Odo Casel for liturgical theology and giants like Louis Bouyer for ecclesiology. I really appreciate it when people know more about theology than canon law!!!🙂

  7. J.D. says:

    I’ve meant to read Dom Odo Casel after reading your few posts on him. Sounds like an interesting character.

    In a way you’re right, places like this ARE the cross denominational resistance in action.

    It’s also a form of Sobornost I suppose.

    • What I most like about Casel is his dispute with the Jesuit Father Umberg (documented in a book by Th. Filthaut with a title in German meaning something like Mystery Theology) is that it reveals the Nominalist metaphysics of the Counter Reformation (doing a “69” with Protestantism to put it crudely) contrasted with the more Platonic metaphysics of Dom Casel. There is a thin dividing line between those who say that Christianity was a bogus religion borrowed from the mythology of the old mystery cults like Mithra in Rome and Isis & Osiris in Egypt – and the idea that Christianity fulfilled the archetypes of Paganism in the same way as the Old Testament, and that Horus who died and was risen prepared the world for the “real thing” which was the Mystery of Christ.

      Some of the more smug elements of the RC institutional liturgical movement claim Dom Casel as their “father”. Many of Casel’s theological ideas were adopted in Sacrosanctum Concilium of Vatican II. Casel as a contemplative and utterly devoted to the liturgy would have been horrified by the Novus Ordo.

      This school of thought is similar to some Orthodox thought I have read, but applied to the western liturgy.

  8. Dale says:

    J.D. stated that “The Orthodox vision of Sobornost seems much more holistic and realistic and seems to have room within it for more than just the narrow confines of who happens to swear allegiance to whoever sits on the chair of Peter.” This sounds good in theory, but the reality of the Orthodox Church is that much as Roman Catholicism finds its unity in the Papal office, they tend to find their unity in a single ethno/cultural Byzantine culture, effectively limiting the Church Catholic to a single cultural expression. To become Byzantine Orthodox indeed means to reject one’s own tradition, regardless of how ancient or Apostolic, as baggage.

    I prefer to neither swim the Tiber or the just as polluted Bosphorus.

    • Dale says:

      One should also add that unless one is in full Eucharistic communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate, one is not considered as canonical; in this sense the allegiance to whoever sits on the Chair of St Andrew is also very narrow.

      • Of course, if the only reality of the Church is institutional, I would probably be “spiritual but not religious” like so many other “orphans” wandering rudderless or finding some philosophy of life to give them meaning. I do believe that the Church transcends all institutions, but that is certainly rank heresy in the minds of some. One consolation is that atheism doesn’t make atheists happy!

    • I was brought up an Anglican and made the mistake of swimming the Tiber. That mistake was undone after 15 years. The experience taught me to be wary of institutions, and actually in tune with the great majority of people in the western world. However small my Church is, I remain essentially a pre-Reformation Catholic. Illusion or witness? I leave the judgement to God.

    • J.D. says:

      For my me much about the Byzantine style feels like a a homecoming, as my mother’s side of the family is all of Russian background. Over the years I’ve fallen in love with the Byzantine service books. Since I’m basically at this point a home aloner out of necessity (I have no Orthodox parish within biking distance) perhaps I’m more like a modern day Old Believer in my approach to things, but without believing grace is only present amongst guys like me.

      No doubt there’s no perfect church or environment. I won’t dispute that.

    • Joseph V. says:

      Dale, I know you and I have tussled here and there, but I do respect the motivations behind your perspective.

      Looking back at my own move from Rome to Antioch, the switch was made easier by the amount of former Catholics in Antioch, both as laity and clergy, and the general frequency with which I met clergy who came by way of one or another Western Church. Former Catholics, I’ve noticed, tend to be totally apathetic to the Western tradition. Former Lutherans and Protestants tend to actually be somewhat hostile to it. This in my observation, others may have experienced something different.

      However, the factor that made the transition easiest was probably generational. I am part of the great un-churched American generation that is populated around the major coast cities. I may have been Baptized in whichever tradition, but there was no religious observance to speak of. Rome was a decision I made, and then eventually rejected. Similarly, Orthodoxy was a decision. Looking back on it, there was no tradition that I could say was mine (in that I was raised in it). I became active in Catholicism in my 20s, and eventually made the decision to leave it in my 30s. But I don’t think, experientially, there was anything I could say that was my tradition. I suppose, if you had to press me, my tradition would be along the lines of un-churched American individualism, for better or worse – I tend to view ecclesiastical authority with a weary eye, regardless which church I associate with.

      If someone finds a community keeping alive the Western tradition (and steering clear of ecclesiastical nonsense), I would encourage them to keep with it. Such wasn’t an option in my situation, but it seems to me to be a fully legitimate option if one can find it.

      • One thing I have said before is that it should be a matter of the local community: a monastery, a parish, a group of people in someone’s home. The “true church” is not what we find on the internet or in books, but what we find actually exists, something with which we can relate. There’s no use in going on about something that doesn’t exist, something we can’t relate to or is unavailable anywhere near where we live.

        If I were a layman living where I live, I don’t know where I would go to church – if I were inclined to go to church. Maybe the Abbey of Saint Wandrille where I buy my charcoal and odds bits and pieces that I don’t buy from my Bishop in England (who runs a church supply shop). They have the new rite in Latin. I suppose there are various traditionalist (indult and SSPX) places where one is likely to get asked all sorts of questions about one’s canonical regularity! There is an Orthodox church in Rouen, but I have never bothered to find out what they do. There is the independent Eglise Sainte Marie founded by the late Bishop Maurice Cantor. I’m not fond of that style of piety, but as we all agree, no church is perfect.

        I think we have to make abstraction of the “Sunday obligation”, say the Office at home, read and study, and go to “good” places like monasteries when we have the time and money to travel and spend a few days going to Office and Mass, otherwise keeping ourselves to ourselves.

        What we belong to formally only matters when it is a question of receiving the Sacraments. It’s for each person to decide. As an Anglican, I wouldn’t dream of receiving Sacraments from the Roman Catholics or Orthodox (at least outside of imminent death).

      • Dale says:

        Joseph, the issue is not what tradition one personally likes or dislikes, the issue is that a Church which professes to be the One and Only True Church, outside of which there is no salvation, has limited itself to a single cultural expression.

        And Byzantine Orthodox dislike of any tradition that is not Byzantine is not limited to the West, when they had the power, they attempted to supplant the ancient Eastern Liturgies with the Byzantine as well.

      • I’ll but in here. I agree that it doesn’t seem to be a good idea to convert to Orthodoxy. Even if you conform to everything, you still haven’t been born in it.

        It’s best to think about Churches that don’t make the same claims as Rome or the Byzantine patriarchates. For most people, it’s academic because all these churches are hundreds of miles away from where they live.

      • Joseph V. says:

        “Joseph, the issue is not what tradition one personally likes or dislikes, the issue is that a Church which professes to be the One and Only True Church, outside of which there is no salvation, has limited itself to a single cultural expression.

        And Byzantine Orthodox dislike of any tradition that is not Byzantine is not limited to the West, when they had the power, they attempted to supplant the ancient Eastern Liturgies with the Byzantine as well.”

        Dale, I hear you, but, for better or worse, it just isn’t something I get too wrapped up in. I frankly don’t think any church can get away with “one true church” claims when placed under scholarly examination….but just about everyone does it : the Orthodox, Rome, various Reformation churches. So, ultimately, I just don’t get too wrapped up in it.

        Regarding “no salvation” claims…again, I don’t know if this is something that varies in the States and is influenced by churches with larger numbers of “converts” who still have family in whatever tradition they formerly belonged to, but in any event, Antioch does Trisagion prayers for non-Orthodox frequently. Again, could be different where you are.

      • Dale says:

        Joseph, what you have written is balanced and well thought-out.

        But I must state that the absolute worse converts that I ever met were not in the United States, but Britain. Why is it that normal traditional English Anglo-Catholics, once they swim the Bosporus, well usually the Neva, since the Greeks in England do not admit English converts out of fear of diluting their pure Hellenic bloodlines, simply become nasty True Church aficionados who hate their own traditions and heritage with a vehement passion? In the United States Anglican converts tend to usually be quite normal, but the Byzantine rite Evangelicals are quite nasty; well, very nasty actually.

  9. J.D. says:

    The reality on the ground is that there’s not a single Church that doesn’t have a host of issues of one kind or another. I think Father has a good idea in that we find one where we can feel at home and keep to ourselves. Of course for me I could have easily probably just continued confessing and communing at the daily Roman Catholic Mass a short walk from me while maintaining my more Byzantine style prayer life but ultimately I reject utterly Papal Supremacy and infallibility and I cannot in good conscience continue in a church where realistically I must pray in communion with the Pope and probably confess as mortally sinful my rejection of Papal Supremacy and infallibility.

    I guess we do the best we can,but we must follow our consciences. My own is staunchly opposed to the papacy as its come to be and just as opposed to the schizophrenic ecclesiology if many trad groups.

    What to do other than pray at home the best I can and hope there’s a parish somewhere where I feel more at home.

    • Dale says:

      J.D. I completely agree with you concerning the personal infallibility of the Pope, an infallibility that, according to the documents of Vatican ,I do not depend upon the consent of the Church. But nor can I accept a Church who has limited salvation to a single cultural expression.

      I also have a serious problem with the schizophrenic ecclesiology of many traditional Roman Catholic groups, but I tend to find that they live next door to the more traditional Orthodox.

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