Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Can Orthodoxy Live Without The Ecumenical Patriarchate?

An interesting reflection which can be read here.

I am inclined to agree with their conclusions. As Bill Tighe noted in a recent email discussion...

"Why not (if an outsider may opine)?  If it can exist without the first Rome, why can it not do likewise without the copy?"


34 female religious superiors ask for access to all Church offices, including priesthood

October 30, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The general superiors of 34 female orders from Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and Luxembourg are demanding more influence in the Church. As part of an international umbrella organization, they ask that women be admitted to all offices in the Church, including ordained offices. Already in 2016, some superiors general of the umbrella organization asked Pope Francis about a commission on female deacons. The final document of the Youth Synod seems to resonate with some of the requests of the women religious.

As several German-speaking outlets reported on October 25, the German-speaking members of the International Union Superiors General (UISG) had a meeting in Innsbruck, Austria, at which they also requested that women have voting rights at future synods of bishops.

“In the future, more women are to be included at synods of bishops – of course with voting rights. That is the only way they can influence decisions,” they explain.

The general superiors of the German-speaking orders met from October 18 to 22 in Innsbruck, according to a report on the website of the Austrian religious orders. The local bishop, Hermann Glettler, visited the general superiors during their meeting and spent some time with them. Inge Metzmacher, pastoral counselor of the Archdiocese of Cologne, Germany, moderated the discussions.

According to this report, these religious leaders see a need for a new “culture of dialogue, of participation, and of gender equality” in the Church. The Church's teaching should be adjusted to “new scientific findings in the theological and other academic disciplines.” The general superiors are of the opinion that an increase of qualified women in the Church would bring “diversity and an enrichment on all levels.” One could learn from religious communities “how men and women have fruitfully worked – and still work – together for the people.”

Read the rest here.

Of course we too have our w/o heretics. See here (scroll to page 5). Though in the case of Orthodoxy I believe this is still fairly fringe. Sadly in the Roman Church this heresy has become so widely embraced that it may well be a majority view in some quarters.

Abortion down 2/3 in Russia since 2000

The number of abortions in Russia has dropped by nearly 2/3 since the beginning of the century, according to statistics presented by Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova, reports Interfax-Religion.

In 2000, there were 2,138,000 recorded abortions in Russia, and in 2017—779,999.

“That’s a very serious decline—63.5%,” Golikova noted.

Moreover, the number of Russians who condemn abortion has tripled in 20 years, from 12 to 35%. There is still a long way to go, however.

It was previously announced in January 2017 that the number of abortions had been halved in Russia in the span of four years, with a 13% drop in 2016—96,300 abortions. As Minister of Health Veronika Skvortsova, the number of abortions by desire, without medical conditions, dropped by 72,000 that year.

The fight against abortion is the Church’s most important social work, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill stated at the opening of the VII Church-wide Congress for Social Work in Moscow in October of last year.

His Holiness has twice addressed the State Duma, calling for them to find a solution to the “horrifyingly high” number of abortions that continue to plague Russia.

The Church recently opened its 58th shelter for pregnant women and mothers, and it also operates 169 humanitarian aid centers throughout the country.


Monday, October 29, 2018

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Australian (RC) bishop touts women’s ordination: ‘transformation of priesthood’ is underway

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand, October 23, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – An Australian bishop recently told priests that admitting women to the priesthood in the Church's current state of affairs would be like pouring new wine into old wine skins, but that a "transformation of the priesthood" was underway.

Vincent Long Van Nguyen, Bishop of the Parramatta Diocese of Sydney, Australia gave an address in September to the New Zealand National Assembly of Diocesan Clergy about the current crises rocking the Church. Blaming the clerical abuse crisis on a faulty conception of the priesthood, Long mentioned women’s ordination as a possibility – but only after even more sweeping changes.

“... As important as it is to consider the question of women ordained ministry in the Church, it is far worse to persist with structures that fail to convey the message of the Gospel to the deep yearnings of the men and women of today,” he told his audience.

“Adding women into the mix in terms of admitting them to ordination might be likened to pouring new wine into old wine skins. For the Church to flourish, it is more crucial that we come to terms with the flaws of clericalism within the very structure of the Church and move beyond its patriarchal matrix,” Long continued.

The Bishop praised Pope Francis for unleashing a "new energy" and pouring a "new wine" upon the Church.

Read the rest here.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Quote of the day...

“Whether our Russian brothers like it or not, sooner or later, they will follow the decisions of the Ecumenical Patriarch, because they have no other choice.”

Bartholomew I
Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople and New Rome


People today use the word "poverty" too casually.

This is poverty.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Alphabet Crowd's Very Own Saint and Martyr

Matthew Shepard, who was killed in what most likely was a drug deal that went bad, is to be re-interred with suitable ceremony in Washington's National Cathedral. Of the politically correct version of events surrounding his death, perhaps the best that can be said is never let the truth get in the way of a good story.

Ultimately though, none of this really means much when weighed against the incontrovertible facts. A young man was savagely murdered. His family was devastated and his killers will probably die in prison.

Lord have mercy.


Monday, October 15, 2018

Help Needed

Wikipedia is currently trying to get a handle on what is happening in Ukraine and the new schism. Unfortunately Orthodoxy is a bit of a mystery there and there are far too few knowledgeable editors for the various articles we do have on Orthodoxy. A new article has been created currently titled Schism of 2018. I suspect the name will be changed at some point in the near future. We are in urgent need of volunteers willing to help with this and related articles. You don't have to even sign up to edit (although there are advantages to having an account). You can just show up and start editing from your browser page.

That said, and for those unfamiliar with how Wikipedia operates, there are a few community rules...
  • All claims of fact that are not obviously uncontroversial need to be cited to a reliable source. Secondary sources are preferred but not obligatory. Sources that are obviously biased or otherwise unreliable should not be used. Personal knowledge also called Original Research is inadmissible. 
  • Do not edit to promote your side of the dispute. Stick to verifiable facts and present them as blandly as possible. If (like me) you have an opinion on the matter I suggest trying to play devil's advocate when adding material and asking yourself if this can in any way be criticized as being unfair or unbalanced in the coverage.
  • Don't edit war. If someone challenges an edit or reverts it, go to the article talk page and discuss the matter. If you can't reach agreement then open the discussion to other editors and try to seek consensus. 
Any help would be greatly appreciated. I am an experienced editor there and if there are questions I can be reached on my user talk page.

My thoughts on L'Affair Khashoggi

This whole thing looks less like an orchestrated murder than a planned snatch op (kidnapping) gone bad. If they wanted him dead it could have been done anywhere under circumstances that would have given the Kingdom plausible deniability. Any competent intelligence service knows how to make problems go away in a manner that can be passed off as a robbery gone bad, a suicide or even death by natural causes. The Russians are very good at this sort of thing. I'd ask Vlad for some confirmation but I don't want to spend the rest of my life checking my food and drinks with a geiger counter.

Back to Mr. Khashoggi. Assassinating someone in their consulate would have been bone crushingly stupid. No government or intelligence service with more than two brain cells in operation would do that. I think they planned to grab him, probably drug him, and smuggle him back to Saudi Arabia where they could put him on ice for a while until he agreed to play nice and/or they decided what to do with him long term.

Clearly something went wrong. A purely educated guess is he put up a fight and the subsequent interrogation got ugly. Maybe he had a heart attack. Maybe he had a bad reaction to a drug. Maybe he said somethings that ticked off people in the snatch team and somebody overreacted. We will probably never know.

But my gut says this did not start out as a planned hit.


Various news agencies including RT and Reuters are reporting that the Russian Orthodox Church has broken all remaining ties with the Ecumenical patriarchate. Presumably this means severing Eucharistic communion. I did not see this announcement up on the ROC's English language website yet. But it appears this is just breaking. While incredibly sad this can hardly be a surprise given the EP's assertion that they are "reclaiming" jurisdiction over Ukraine with the intent of granting autocephaly to an as yet to be formed unified Ukrainian Orthodox Church composed of groups hitherto universally condemned as schistmatic.

Lord have mercy.

Update: The Washington Post specifically states that eucharistic communion has been severed. 

Friday, October 12, 2018

Oh for the good old days

From here.

The Howling Abyss

This is almost a work of art. I can't remember seeing someone so thoroughly eviscerated... without ever mentioning their name.

Read it here.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Large cross on Greek island destroyed because it could be ‘offensive to Muslim migrants’

The ancient mythical Greek island of Lesbos is today better known as anchorage ground for human traffickers and the problems and conflicts that have arisen in connection with the boat traffic.

It is now reported that a large cross monument on the Greek Orthodox Christian island has been levelled to the ground. This after a group claiming to promote intercultural coexistence argued that the cross could be perceived as offensive to the predominantly Muslim boat migrants.

The cross monument was built on the cliffs of Apellia, beneath the castle of Mytilene, in memory of people who have died in the sea. According to the local coexistence group, however, the cross was offensive because many who have drowned, and many migrants on the island are not Christians.

The local newspaper on the island reports that the group has also received support from some aid organisations that expressed similar negative opinions about the cross-shaped memorial monument.

A letter was sent to the Island’s port minister and mayor, in which the coexistence group claimed that the cross was placed there to prevent migrants from swimming.

The letter stated that the initiators of the monument were “aspiring crusaders” with racist and intolerant motives who abused the Christian cross, which should be a symbol of love and sacrifice. And they therefore called for the monument to be demolished.

And that was what happened. Just a few days later, at night, the whole monument was levelled to the ground. The demolished remains of the cross remain as rubble on the site

The attack by the coexistence group on the monument and the demolition of it has aroused strong reactions in large parts of the local population who believe that the deed goes against the Christian religious beliefs shared by a majority of the inhabitants of the Island.


The Ecumenical Patriarch Grants Formal Recognition to Ukrainian Schismatics


The EP has just moved the minute hand on the Orthodox Doomsday clock to 1 minute before midnight.

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

A New Blog on the Ecclesial Crisis In Ukraine

There is a new blog that has been created to provide ongoing updates and discussion regarding the serious crisis in Ukraine and the threat of schism. Additionally there are a large number of documents and background information. I have added the link to the blogroll in the sidebar.

Orthodox Synaxis

HT: Byzantine Texas

Openly saying what a lot of Catholics have been secretly thinking

The Second Vatican Council was an unmitigated disaster and it is becoming increasingly difficult to pretend that the modern Catholic Church is the same in faith, praxis and spirit to that which existed before 1965.

From here.

P.S. Pope Francis has been invited by Kim Jong Un to visit North Korea. I doubt even Francis is that far gone. But the mere fact of the invitation speaks volumes. 

Monday, October 08, 2018

Some food for thought

It appears that some snowflake has taken their disappointment over the confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court to a potentially perilous level, allegedly posting... "So Who's Gonna Take One for the Team and Kill Kavanaugh?" on Twitter.

This woke champion of all that's right may be about to discover that freedom of expression and the right to protest has limits. Threatening a Federal Judge, and inciting or soliciting others to harm one is a Federal crime covered under Title 18 Chapter 115 of the US Code. If convicted of said offense there is a real possibility that she could end up doing time in a Federal prison. The Justice Department and US prosecutors do not generally have a sense of humor when it comes to this sort of thing. But as vile as this alleged offense is, she should take some comfort.

Because even if formally arrested and indicted, she has rights.
  •  The right to legal councel.
  •  The right to be tried in an open court before an impartial jury of her peers.
  • The right to confront witnesses and evidence against her and to cross examine or otherwise impeach said witnesses and evidence.
  • An absolute presumption of innocence, until such time as the jury concludes that the evidence has proven her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
This is one of those things things that defines us as a country and marks us out as Americans.

Unless your last name is Kavanaugh.

A little off the top and a straight razor shave please

Meet Anthony Mancinelli, a man who enjoys his work so much that retirement does not appear to be in his plans. He is a barber who started cutting hair when Warren Harding was president. In fairness, he was a boy at the time. Mr. Manicinelli, now 107, has all of his own teeth, takes no medication and is still cutting hair full time, a job that requires him to be on his feet pretty much all day. Somewhere along the line he got his name in the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest working barber. 

From here.

Many (more) years!

Saturday, October 06, 2018

Friday, October 05, 2018

The end of an era in Switzerland

ZURICH (Reuters) - The era of mystery-cloaked numbered Swiss bank accounts has officially come to a close as Switzerland, the world’s biggest center for managing offshore wealth, began automatically sharing client data with tax authorities in dozens of other countries.

The Federal Tax Administration (FTA) said on Friday it had for the first time exchanged financial account data at the end of September under global standards that aim to crack down on tax cheats. 

Bank secrecy still exists in some areas — Swiss authorities cannot automatically see what citizens have in their domestic bank accounts, for example — but gone are the days when well-paid European professionals could stash wealth across the border and beyond the prying eyes of their tax man.

Read the rest here.

Herbert Hoover in Cincinnati Ohio October 22, 1929

Rare film footage with original sound taken in Cincinnati Ohio during a formal visit by President Herbert Hoover two days before the beginning of the stock market crash.

Monday, October 01, 2018

Hugh Hewitt: The volcano rumbles but the left can’t hear it

An hour’s brisk walk can take you from the Dunker Church, across “the cornfield” and down Bloody Lane all the way to Burnside Bridge — the key locations on the battlefield at Antietam, a little more than an hour’s drive from the U.S. Capitol and scene of the bloodiest single day for the American military in our history.

Some 23,000 in blue or gray were killed or wounded, or went missing during the grueling 12 hours of close combat at Sharpsburg, Md., on Sept. 17, 1862.

When pundits talk of a “cold civil war” in the country, they mark themselves as ignorant of the real thing. Far from real war, the civil tension in the country isn’t even close to 1960s levels of violence, much less the sort of actual war that once convulsed the country in the 1860s. Screaming demonstrators at hearings jar. But they aren’t the Weathermen terrorizing the 1960s, not the Oklahoma City bombing, not the Fort Hood massacre.


But some seem to welcome a slide in that direction. “Tell me again why we shouldn’t confront Republicans where they eat, where they sleep, and where they work until they stop being complicit in the destruction of our democracy,” tweeted Ian Millhiser, justice editor at ThinkProgress.

“Because it is both wrong & supremely dangerous,” replied Georgetown Law professor Randy Barnett. “When one side denies the legitimacy of good faith disagreement over policy — as well as over constitutional principle — the other side will eventually reciprocate. Neither a constitutional republic nor a democracy can survive that.”

Princeton’s much-admired political theorist Robert P. George said of the exchange: “Randy Barnett drops a major truth bomb in response to an especially foolish and irresponsible tweet. We’re already in the orange zone of bitterness and hatred of citizens toward fellow citizens. We’re about to enter the red zone. This is how faction destroys democratic republics.”

The daily ratcheting-up of rhetoric is driving people away from ordinary political conversation. It is too freighted with potential for disproportionate responses to talk candidly about such things as one’s views of the Kavanaugh hearings. The intentional release of senators’ home addresses by someone there is reason to believe is a Capitol Hill staffer — “doxing” — is an ominous step in the Millhiser direction. It is a step back toward the tragedy that unfolded only last year when a deranged Bernie Sanders supporter tried to gun down the GOP caucus at baseball practice.

Read the rest here.