Friday, May 14, 2010

Ortho-Cath discussion

I draw the reader's attention to the current discussion at Eirenikon where the topic is the same one I addressed here. A lot of the comments are just the usual boiler plate back and forth about the Pope, Vatican I etc. But if you scroll down you will find a series of excellent and very thoughtful comments by Carlos Antonio Palad. Mr. Palad is a traditional Catholic and regular contributor over at Rorate Caeli, whose comments on matters Orthodox I have tended to find both well reasoned and fair. He stands out among many online Catholics who too often tend to one of two extremes, being either utterly lost to the Kumbaya "can't we all just get along" wing, or the polemically anti-Orthodox who have little use for the "schismatic Easterners" until we kneel and kiss the Pope's ring.

I commend his comments as well worth the read.

Please leave comments at Eirenikon.


Steve Hayes said...

I am trying to gauge interest in an Orthodox-RC mission symposium, which I hope would avoid the two extremes, but rather try to discover whether differences in approach to mission can illuminate the theological differences. For more on that see A missional symposium: Khanya.

I would love to have some suggestions about Orthodox missiologists or mission practitioners who could be invited to such a symposium.

John (Ad Orientem) said...

The man you want to talk to about that is probably Fr. Stephen Freeman. He can give you some good names. His blog (Glory to God for All Things) is linked in the sidebar.


Sybok said...

"polemically anti-Orthodox who have little use for the "schismatic Easterners" until we kneel and kiss the Pope's ring."

Was not that you, once upon a time?

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
John (Ad Orientem) said...

No. From the moment I encountered Orthodoxy I was powerfully attracted to it.


rick allen said...

A question about etiquette: I am Catholic, but I have never attended an Orthodox liturgy. Sometime in the next month I expect to find myself free to do so.

I have no interest in converting myself to or others from. But I think myself painfully ignorant for never having experienced one, and I don't want to be impolite.

I know not to take communion. I assume I will offend no one by crossing myself Latin style. I understand I need to prepare for a lot of standing. Any advice, correction or pointers?

John (Ad Orientem) said...

Nothing really leaps out as uber important beyond what you have already mentioned (i.e. we stand a lot and we don't do open communion). If you have more than one Orthodox parish in the area I would encourage going to one where services are mostly or entirely in English. Nothing wrong with Greek or Slavonic (both of which are beautiful liturgical languages) but you will probably get more out of the English to start with.

There are usually few limits beyond no communion to participation by non-Orthodox. (ROCOR parishes can be a bit more strict.) Parts of the service will not normally be visible as they will be conducted behind the closed doors of the iconostasis and our liturgies are always celebrated ad orientem.

If you want some generic advice from a convert you can read the Tips for a First Time Visitor linked in the side bar of the blog. Good luck and drop me a line after your visit. I would enjoy hearing of the experience.


rick allen said...

Gracias, will do so.

Fr Paul said...

as an occasional commentator in discussions at Eirenikon, I hope I may be permitted to make a personal comment here. There are Catholics who belong neither to the "the Kumbaya 'can't we all just get along' wing", and who are not "polemically anti-Orthodox who have little use for the 'schismatic Easterners'" either. I want to engage positively with Orthodox theology both because I desire unity AND because I believe this task an essential prerequisite for recovering the true breadth and depth of our own tradition. I think that the unhealthy state of our Church is due to problems much older and deeper than the post Vatican II woes which people like Mr Palad like to blame them on - in fact I think the latter are often nothing other than the reductio ad absurdam of some of the scholastoc schematising to which the Rorate Caeli crowd cling so tightly. I cannot help but wonder whether you felt the same way as you navigated away from Catholicism; I myself am trying to follow a different path, and although you will probably believe it a doomed enterprise I would hope that you might accord it some respect.

I share much of the dismay of RC traditionalists, but trying to make certain of them even try to hear and understand arguments from outside their limited cartegories is a frustrating task - which is part of the reason I have not intervened on the thread you refer to. Mr Palad is doubtless trying to be both "well reasoned and fair", but I do not consider him either uniformly well-informed or particularly open-minded. There are some Catholics who are convinced that we do not have to choose between the wholesale recreation of our Church as it was between Trent and Vat II, and the post-Catholic fantasies of many "progressives". You might not want to help us, but please don't igmore us.

John (Ad Orientem) said...

Fr. Paul,
Thanks for the note. Your comments are always welcome here. It was not my intention to suggest that all Catholic fall into one of two wings mentioned. Just that it seems that a significant number do. Much the same could be said of those on our side of the fence. Sadly, at least on the internet, the respectable middle ground where one can discuss things respectfully while acknowledging the very real and serious differences which exist seems to be a minority position.

As for the Trads (both yours and ours) I have much sympathy. But I also see tendencies towards fixations on a unrealistic rose colored view of history which creates some utopian condition within the church in a given era. If only we could go back to...

For a Trad Catholic that would be somewhere between the close of the First Vatican Council and the death of Pius XII. For Trad Orthodox it too often seems their highest ambition is to become a 19th century Russian peasant.

In both cases there seems to be an attachment to a world that from an historical perspective never really existed.

For the record I think Mr. Palad is an exception in that from my correspondence with him, he does not seem to wear the rose colored glasses when discussing the pre-Vatican II world.

Fr Paul said...

thank you for your gracious reply. I think I was being a little over sensitive, since upon rereading your post it is clear that you do not claim that all Catholic commentators fall into one or other of the categories you mention. I think it is a refl;ection of the frustration I feel at times that these days in the blogosphere, it is the intransigent triumphalists on both sides who seem to be making most of the running - doubtless in reaction to decades of dominance by the touchy-feely dogma-doesn't-matter side. I am comforted that you too seem to suffer to some degree from that same frustration.

I think too that I may have been to hard on Mr Palad. I certainly am not always comfortable with the type of theological language he uses - and this is in large part because it is part of a baggage I myself once carried but have long since abandoned. However, I think that I have perhaps temerariously attributed to him all the failings of the site where he writes. There, the slightest hint of questioning on issues as secondary as clerical celibacy or communion under both kinds provokes immediate deletion from the comments box, while the most extreme and theologically illiterate comments against Vatican II and the post-conciliar magisterium are joyfully tolerated.