Search Terms

Occasionally I grow curious enough to explore WordPress’s Site Stats feature which, among other things, alerts me to some of the search terms people use to find this web-log. Recently there has been a string of hits involving Eastern Orthodoxy and traditional Catholicism, such as “sspx russian orthodox,” “traditionalist catholic views of the orthodox,” and “traditional eastern catholics.” The only reason Opus Publicum pops up in these searches is likely because I am one of the few bloggers who writes on both Orthodoxy and traditional Catholicism, not because I have any great insight into the mind of traditionalism when it comes to the Christian East. The few forays I have made into this territory, such as those involving St. Gregory of Narek and the 21 New Coptic Martyrs of Libya, ended with some rather scornful remarks being directed my way. So it goes. The truth of the matter is that most traditional Catholics, like most Catholics in general, know very little about the Christian East, including the sui iuris churches in communion with Rome. As I have noted in other articles and posts before, this is unfortunate because it contributes to needless theological, spiritual, and liturgical myopia on the part of traditionalists. This is not to say that traditional Roman Catholics ought to “easternize” (Heaven forbid). However, the traditional movement, to the extent it wishes to be a movement for the betterment of the universal Church while being an authentic reflection of the full Catholic tradition, cannot exist in ignorance of the East, or so I would think.

But I have been wrong before about such things. Not long ago I was engaged in what was initially a friendly e-mail exchange that quickly turned sour when I suggested, nay, observed that Eastern Catholics, by and large, have shown more respect for their liturgical patrimony than Roman Catholics. This gentleman—a true blue traditionalist—could not accept that the Divine Liturgy was a “true Catholic liturgy”; its existence within the Church was a “concession” that has since become “an abuse.” Indeed another traditional fellow who used to comment on this blog once went so far as to claim that none of the Eastern Catholics who arrived in North America should have been allowed to retain their rites—a claim that surely would have sat well with the late Archbishop John Ireland, the unwitting founding father of the Orthodox Church in America. Alienating the East is a time-honored tradition some folks apparently can’t let go of.

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98 comments

  1. It would appear that your correspondents share the same attitude towards Eastern rite Catholicism as most Eastern Orthodox feel towards a western rite in Orthodoxy; with one major difference. These gentlemen do not reflect an official Catholic position towards the eastern rite, whilst those who share this same attitude in Orthodoxy towards the western rite are often those in power.

    1. As the John Ireland example indicates, obviously this attitude has been shared by those in power in the catholic church. It was only last year that the Vatican officially lifted the ban on married priests serving in North America.

      1. Ryan, but we must also remember that the Italo-Greeks have preserved their Byzantine rite in Italy for centuries, always protected by the Popes; and in the end, John Ireland did not get what he wanted, except for the demand that in North America the clergy be celibates (and this was also recently rescinded as well). Eventually, eastern rite diocese were set-up even in North America. The fairly recent debacle of the pathetic western rite movement in ROCOR is an example of the lack of acceptance of any liturgical tradition outside of the Byzantine in Orthodoxy.

        1. One could also mention that John Ireland’s problems were not limited to the eastern rites, he caused problems for the Poles and even the Italians; the problems were not so much liturgical as ethnic (strange how those who have been persecuted, such as Irish Catholics, so easily become persecutors themselves). The Poles forming their own National Church and several Italian communities joining the Protestant Episcopal Church with the Roman rite in Latin and Italian.

        2. True, John Ireland was more of a outlier even 100 years ago, whereas Eastern Orthodox hierarchs generally believe even to this day if it isn’t Byzantine it is nothing.

          1. Anthony, I think the term they use for any tradition that is not Byzantine is “baggage.” That has been my experience anyway.

        3. Comparing Latin treatment of Eastern rites versus Eastern treatment of the Western rites doesn’t make much sense. The historical circumstances and the sheer numbers are vastly different. The Western rite movement in Orthodoxy has been a very niche, piecemeal development, with individual priests or parishes coming from all sorts of different places. The Greek Catholics, on the other hand, were large communities who entered (voluntarily or otherwise) communion with Rome en masse; they had a stable, consistent tradition to stand on and from which to counter Latin chauvinist bullying. If respect for Eastern rites was the default position of the Vatican, there would be no need for the many stipulations in the Union of Brest for the preservation of Eastern liturgics and customs. This is not to justify the Byzantine chauvinism of the Eastern Orthodox hierarchs, but I suspect that if the Western Rite movement were a larger, more coherent entity, it would not be so easy to dismiss the western rite or pressure its parishes to Byzantinise.

          1. The problem is that Western Rite Orthodoxy was never brought in as a coherent entity, and even when some tried, it was treated as alien and, more absurdly, meddled with. I have a copy on hand of the St. Ambrose Prayer Book published by the good folks at Lancelot Andrewes Press and what does one find in the so-called “Liturgy of St. Gregory”? The epiclesis, inserted pointlessly into the Roman Canon. To the best of my knowledge all extant Western Rite Orthodox liturgies have it, and other easternizing elements, in them.

            1. This is a myth that is often propagated, but is not true. Several hundreds of thousands in Latin America approached the Russians to be received as western rite recently, and were told, “Eastern rite or take a hike.” The Philippines had thousands convert to western rite Orthodoxy, they were quickly Byzantinized. In Italy, in the 1970’s, there were over ten thousand western rite Orthodox at one time, Moscow then told them to go back to Rome or accept the eastern rite.

            2. Gabriel, you are quite correct about even the western rite of the Antiochians, it is a liturgical monstrosity. The so-called western rites of the Russians, well it is worse than a self-invented liturgical monstrosity; it is such a mish-mash that it is simply embarrassing to even try to read much less look at. This would not be such an issue if the Byzantines would quite playing the we-are-the-one-true-church game, but please. The lack of catholicity is simply breathtaking. Just think, people who think they can improve on the most ancient liturgical tradition in Christendom…the arrogance alone is simply so off putting. I guess St Gregory the Great is considered a liturgical idiot by these people.

            3. The problem with the Western Rite is twofold. 1) The Orthodox Church has, all things considered, demonstrated incompetence in the Latin liturgical tradition. 2) There needs to be a sizable body of Roman Catholics to enter the movement for it to have some legitimacy. As of now, most Catholics go Byzantine and most Western Rite Orthodox come from various Protestant backgrounds.

            4. Only a few months ago the ROCOR received a whole diocese of the Philippine Independent Church, they original asked to use the western rite, this was refused. Oh, by the way, they were all rebaptised, including their bishop. I think it will eventually end much like the original reception of the Mexican National Catholic Church by the OCA, which was also supposed to be received as a western rite entity (I actually, in the 1970’s, had a conversation with the man who had produced the western rite missal for group, using the 1870-71 Overbeck Roman rite). Schmemann said no. Instead of the original 20 thousand only a few were received and the joke of trying to make Mexicans into Russians continues; without too much success.

            5. 10,000 of a religion that numbers nearly 2 billion is not significant. What needs to happen is a significant portion of the hierarchy and people need to make that switch. Until then, the movement has no real future.

            6. Philippine Independent, Mexican national, doesn’t matter. Practically speaking, it needa to be a large defection from the Roman Hierarchy to work. And yes, a rule of them for future endeavora, the closer you get to Siberia, the crazier they get.

            7. J.V. Christians in Asia are a very small minority to begin with, let’s just close it all down; since only numbers matter, huge numbers. Do you even read your own postings. I remember that someone mentioned when two are three are gathered, obviously not in Orthodoxy.

            8. Size is a real consideration, Dale. The majority of Orthodoxy is not going to get serious about the Western rite until there is a real ecclesiastical (if not ecclesiolgoical) advantage to so doing, that is just how it is. And things will always get crazier the closer you get to Siberia, that is just how it is.

            9. Dale, at some point you have to think practically. Additionally, missionary efforts/communities are not the same as trying to change an existing church’s ecclesiastical make-up. If you’re going to make the attempt to change any church’s ecclesiastical make-up, you meed to be able to donstrate the risks that come with that are worth taking.

            10. J.V. The Orthodox are never going to get serious about any tradition other than the Byzantine. Regardless of size. If any movement is small, they will say it is too small, if it is large, they will then say it is too large. really no one should considered going Orthodox unless they are willing to become pretend Russians or Greeks, perhaps a Romanian or two as well. It is simply exotica and not too much else. And convert communities never last beyond a single generation, playing Russian or Greek tires after a while.

            11. Dale I don’t dispute there are problems. But I also don’t think there is any blameless side in the issue. Simple fact is you’ve had centuries of animosity – it will not be solved overnight. If Orthodoxy is going to survive in the US or anywhere else in the Weat, it will have to abandon its ethnic enclaves. This is a future issue it will have to face. Part of that will entail coming to grips with the Western Tradition. The preservation of the Western Tradition remains a matter entirely separate from Orthodoxy, Western Rite or otherwise.

            12. Yes, the epiclesis insertion was stupid and ignores the remarks of St. Nicholas Cabasilas on the Latin liturgy. Re: Dale’s assertion that the universalization of the Byzantine rite requires everyone to be Greek or Russian, well that’s just dumb. That’s like saying Vietnamese Catholics are just LARPing as French people.

          2. One should also mention that Byzantine hatred for anything not Byzantine also extends to non-western rites as well. When a diocese of the Syriac tradition was received by the Russians almost a century ago, although they were promised that their ancient traditions would be preserved, the Russians lied, they were all quickly Byzantinized. It is almost a pathology amongst the Byzantines.

          3. “Re: Dale’s assertion that the universalization of the Byzantine rite requires everyone to be Greek or Russian, well that’s just dumb. ” But true.

        4. Dale, as I’ve mentioned to you elsewhere, you reference one abbey when the historical record aptly deomstrates that the Latin hierarchy went to great lengths to obliterate the Italo-Greek rite (and Church). It was only the massive wave of Albanian refuges that revived it, and even then it was subject to absurd restrictions and attempts at Latin assimilation, until the mid 20th century. You really need to drop this example – it doesn’t stand under scrutiny if the historical record.

          1. Having recently returned from Italy and having attended Italo-Greek churches, I will stand by what I have written. There are also on youtube old Italian footage of Greek communities in the mountains of Calabria and Sicily where the rite was well persevered in the 1920’s. Including Greek style stove pipe clerical hats and Greek rite holy week observations. But you are correct, when one says Italo-Greek, most of the people are of Albanian descent. Of course Byzantium has nothing comparable; perhaps the Massacres of the Latins in 1182?

            1. Again, the present day Italo-Greeks are almost all Albanians. And, Youtube video regardless, they were not accorded a modicum of respect until the Vatican II period. Even now, there are such stringent controls on who can belong to the Italo-Greek church that it is effectively an ethnic ghetto. Of course, I also don’t think the new Pope cares either which way, so maybe there is some new freedom in that regard. Of course there was a massacre of Latins! It has only been in the modern period that a modicum of decency has been shown by either side. There are no clean hands here.

          2. The massive movement of Albanians was in the 15-16th centuries. Quite a long time ago actually. They are still eastern rite. What have the Byzantines done with non-Byzantine traditions? They even destroyed, whenever possible, any ancient eastern traditions as well if it was not byzantine. Not a good track record own should think.

            1. And once again, the historical record demonstrates repeates attempts at assimilation and stringent controls on those Albanians who optes for communion with Rome. There were those who also approached the scattered original Italo-Greek churches, who by then had no affiliation with any patriarchate. It was these churches that, for the most part, accepted the jurisidiction on Constantinople in the 20th century, although a small number of them continue to reject affiliation with either Rome or Costantinople

            2. And Rome had a history of destorying liturgical traditions that weren’t distinctly Roman. Attempts were made on the Ambrosian liturgy (although it had largely accepted a good deal of romanization in earlier centuries) and the history of the Post-Tridentine Church was one of active attempts to displace those rites allegedly allowed by Quo Primum. Not a good track record, really.

            3. Actually in Sicily, which I have not visited, and Calabria, which I have visited, whole villages and valleys which are eastern rite, but in the end I fail to understand your point; if numbers are your only issue, then let’s just give it all up. Orthodoxy in the United States is a small, virtually only limited to ethnic minorities, so let’s just close it all down. Hardly worth the time actually. And Orthodoxy should completely refuse converts, period. They will only ever be a small group in the west, mostly composed of individuals and tiny parishes pretending to be Greeks or Russians. Of course if there are huge conversions, this will be attacked as well. One cannot win with the mentality of most Orthodox. I guess one cannot start small in Orthodoxy, it must be huge in the very beginning, or not at all.

            4. Then you should have noted in Calabria, as you will in Sicily, that the eastern rite is oftentimes Orthodox affiliated. That is the majority of eastern rite down there, and increasingly they all use Italian as opposed to Greek. The Italo-Greek dioceses in strict communion with Rome are hardly significant. This said, there has always been a blurring of the lines in Calabria and Sicily. Outside of the Latin hierarchy, it is not a clear cut situation.

            5. Numbers are important in so far as that is the only thing that is going to initiate any change. If at all. Does Orthodoxy suffer from an ethnic enclave mentality? Depends where you look – but if there is any hope of having an single Orthodox hierarchy in North America, it has to get beyond its ethnic comfort zone. Will that happen? In fits and starts, largely. The ethnos is too great a source of numbers for the new world to let it go, and the Patriarchs in the old world are not likely to relinquish a cash cow in the US.

            6. The old communities are not Orthodox, they are all Greek Catholics, the Orthodox are new, economic immigrants from Eastern Europe (many from Romania). You are correct, most of the liturgies are now sung, in the Greek Catholic churches, in Italian, which is what virtually all of the ancient Albanian communities speak, and have often done so for generations.

            7. Oh, and the new, immigrant ethnic Orthodox do not live in the villages, they are all centered in the main towns, where the jobs are. Rome has two Italo-Greek Catholic churches, and a very large Romanian Greek Catholic one as well.

            8. Not entirely true, Dale. By any stretch. The existing Greek archdiocese was formed from previously existing Orthodox churches. Furthermore, the Orthodox have been reclaiming the ancient churches via rulings from the local governments.

            9. J.V. Last posting on this issue, the only one I know of, and I do pay attention, is the former Russian Church in Bari, which was given to the Orthodox by the town government which had purchased the church building when the Russian community became too small to support such a large edifice many years ago. No ancient Greek Catholic churches have been given by the courts to the Greek Orthodox. If you have more information on this, I would be interested. The new, large, Russian Church in Rome was built by the Russian government.

            10. Dale, this is going to be my last comment on this. At this point, you’re asking me to disprove the absurd. This is the equivalent to you asking me to disprove the sky is purple. Basic history, the region was for the better part of its existence under the jurisdiction of Constantinople. The Albanians who cam over were originally Albanian Orthodox. There was an additional wave of Greek Orthodox in the 16th and 17th centuries. The only reason jurisdiction fell under Rome was through conquest. The only reason there was a decline in Orthodoxy was through supression. You’re asking me to prove both the historical and public record to you. This is what this has come down to.

              In Calabria: San Giovanni Crisostomo, Gerace ; Chiesa della Madonna di Grecia, Gallicianò di Condofuri;San Giovanni Theristìs, Bivongi (given back to the Orthodox by the local government); SS Elia il Nuovo e Filareto l’Ortolano, Seminara (re-established after 11 centuries). This does not include other Orthodox churches in the area – all of whom are leveraging the region’s Orthodox past (the historical record) as an intrinsic part of the region’s identity. And seems to be working. These are just the Greek churches in Calabria, several of them survived centuries of Roman attempts at subjugation and have continuously served the Greek rite. How did you gloss over these? This doesn’t even count what is in Reggio. And before you give me this nonsense about new waves of people and jobs, let me stop you right there. Reggio has parishes because it was a lasting hold out of Italo-Greek and Orthodox identity. If you want new waves of Greeks looking for jobs, you’ve got to look in more northern climates. You will note services in the south are largely in Italian (amongst the Orthodox) and in the north a fair bit of Greek is used.

              Did you miss the Greek Orthodox parishes in Rome? Sure seems like it.

              Now great, you’ve traveled to Calabria. Fantastic. My family is from Calabria and Sicily. We go back there. We speak language. Most of our family is still there. And we have some of the bloodlines connected to those ancient churches. You can find the ruins of a monastery every fifth girl in one of my lines is named after in one of our towns. Before you bring up your travel log, keep that in mind.

              I’m happy you have a narrative that works for you, Dale. It does not hold under serious investigation. It requires glossing over large amounts of data, the most basic data point being that the Italo-Greek parishes that opted for communion with Rome were the exception, not the rule, and for the most part were only able to so because they had some very powerful patronage – this holds for Grottaferrata as well, which was largely protected by the Benedictine order and subsequently went on to incorporate Benedinctine elements into its office.

  2. I wonder then, in his mind should Roman Catholics moving to Alaska have been forced to transfer to Eastern churches? Sure it is an historical innovation to have overlapping geographic diocese, but the history of evangelization new territories is nothing but innovation after innovation. Perhaps we should all have had to transfer to a Native American Catholic Church!

  3. Concerning your most recent comment

    J.V.
    September 16, 2015 at 8:11 am

    and seeking correction, here is my understanding:

    Southern Italy were under Roman “patriarchal” jurisdiction (puitting the term in inverted commas, because Rome never made “patriarchal status” a significant part of its self-conceit, and only adopted the term in 642, and for a long time thereafter used it only sporadically) until at some point around 740 Emperor Leo III, in response to Rome’s opposition to his iconoclastic edicts, transferred Southern Italy, Sicily, and Illyricum from Rome’s jurisdiction to that of the rather more compliant Constantinople.

    Rome never accepted this, and it became a perpetual grievance on the part of Rome to have lost its jurisdiction and (estates) in those regions. I suppose that Roman jurisdiction returned in practice to Byzantine-ruled parts of southern Italy in the course of its Norman Conquest in the 1060s, culminating with the taking of Bari in 1071. I read somewhere, years ago, that the last Byzantine-rite territorial diocese in that area, Gallipoli, became Latin in 1516.

    I am curious (because ignorant) when the churches you mentioned in Calabria (and others elsewhere in adjacent areas of the Mezzogiorno and in Sicily) were handed over to the Orthodox “by the local governments” (desirous, I suppose, of emulating Leo III) and whether it was with the agreement of the local Catholic dioceses, and of the Vatican, or in the face of their opposition; also (particularly if this has all been happening in recent years) to what extent the Ecumenical Patriarchate has involved itself in these troubled waters (which would certainly appear to carry the risk of shipwrecking its “make nice” policy towards Rome).

    Finally, you wrote:

    “There were those who also approached the scattered original Italo-Greek churches, who by then had no affiliation with any patriarchate. It was these churches that, for the most part, accepted the jurisidiction on Constantinople in the 20th century, although a small number of them continue to reject affiliation with either Rome or Costantinople.”

    Churches (parishes) with “no affiliation with any patriarchate?” Who knew that congregationalism has established itself there? But one wonders, how long ago? I doubt that the Bourbon monarchs of the Regno would have tolerated any such thing, nor perhaps even Il Duce after the 1929 Lateran Treaty. so when did it arrive – and who provided “episcopal services” for these Italo-Greek-Albanian congregationalists?

    1. Jurisdiction is a touchy issue before and after Leo III.

      There was always, so far as we can tell, a Greek Christian Tradition in Southern Italy (it may have even been the majority), from Naples to Sicily. The Roman pontifs significantly favored the Latin churches in the region. The Greek churches continued as they had and resisted early attempts at bringing them into comformity with the Latin churches. What was the extent of the Pope’s actually authority in region? We really don’t know. This is complicated by the fact that the Calabria and Sicily remain under the control of the Byzantine Empire after the collapse of the Western Empire. Eventually, yes, Leo III formally transfers them to Constantinople. Oddly enough, these regions were being populated by Monks fleeing the iconoclast controversy.

      Regarding the suspension of the Byzantine rite, distinction has to be made between Roman or Catholic churches and the remaining (and fairly isolated) Orthodox churches. The Byzantine rite continued to be offered in Reggio at the cathedral until after Trent, afterwhich it was abruptly changed to the Missale Romanum of Pius V. Some of the Orthodox Churches continued to persist – San Giovanni Crisostomo comes to mind – in which case the rite was not suspended. Mind you, in areas of northern Italy, the Orthodox churches persisted without as much disruption. That is an entirely different area to consider. Furthermore, from the evidence we have, there was a tremendous amount of cross polination between Greek and Latin liturgics in Southern Italy before the Norman conquest. There is even evidence of Latin, Greek and Arabic comingling in parts of Sicily – older Sicilian vestments (Catholic or Orthodox) often have Arabic characters, and there are passages of the Koran in the Cathedral of Palmero, I believe. We have indications of Byzantinized Latin liturgies and the Byzantine liturgy celebrated by Latin clergy in Latin – no evidence of early Sicilian or Calabrian, however.

      Regarding the transfer of the ancient Greek churches back to Orthodox possession, I am unfamiliar with what role if any the local Catholic heirarchy has played. From what I can see, the Metropolitan of Italy has been involved, not necessarily the EP. This is in keeping with a strong push among the Orthodox hierarchy in Italy to declare the Church autocephalis, a current that makes Constanintople very uneasy – Constantinople organized most of the Orthodox churches into something coherent, and, to be honest, this would create canonical nightmare, re: the Bishop of Rome.

      There is an Orthodox Church of Italy which is an independent body. There are also some very random Orthodox churches that are highly irregular – my understanding, last I looked into them. This said, the history of Souther Italy is marked by “canonical irregularity.”

    2. Dr Tighe, yes it is strange the hoops that people jump through. Of course not mentioned is that the Italo-Greek communities pre-date the schism, one would think that they would naturally have been under the local canonical authorities, yet this individual is telling us that Constantinople simply set-up a parallel jurisdiction based upon nothing but ethnicity (actually true, but this only happened when the Byzantines occupied areas of Italy; one suspect had they been more successful, following their normal procedures, they would have closed all Latin churches, as they did in Constantinople and the rest of their empire). He then goes on to include completely non-canonical groups in Italy to support his rather bizarre contentions. He then states that the Italian courts have been taking parishes churches away from the Greek Catholics and giving them to the Orthodox and later seems that it is the kindness of the local civil authorities and the Roman Catholic church which is giving unused churches for the use of recent immigrant communities who are pouring into western Europe from the East. Is this what passes for fact amongst the Eastern Orthodox? Very odd indeed. Of course it is strange that he would attack Latinizations of the Italo-Greek Tradition whilst coming from a denomination that has no liturgical diversity whatsoever. Strange.

      The statement that the Greeks in Southern Italy were congregationalists under no bishops or ecclesial authorities at all really takes the cake.

      1. Dale, it is historical and public record. You’re inability to reconcile with this, not my problem. You’re inability to follow what I’ve actually written (as opposed to what you think I’ve written), whatever, not my problem. You’re ability to deny reality (“there are no native Greek Orthodox in Italy, they are all Eastern European immigrants), whatever, not my problem. You have a narrative you’ve convinced yourself of, you plainly ignore any information to the contrary, hey, enjoy it.

      2. “The statement that the Greeks in Southern Italy were congregationalists under no bishops or ecclesial authorities at all really takes the cake.”

        Dale, you really need some basic reading comprehension classes.

        1. “There were those who also approached the scattered original Italo-Greek churches, who by then had no affiliation with any patriarchate.”

          1. Yeah, historically when the EP attempted to round them all up, several said “go screw, we’ve been independent, we’ll stay independent.” Some of them may have been behind the Orthodox Church of Italy (which the Bulgarian Orthodox church recognizes or at least participates in the their ordinations- no one else does). What has happened since then, God only knows. So far as I know, the keep moving on.

            1. These are not part of the ancient Italo-Greek Catholic church. I think you are confusing them with the so-called Milan Synod, a completely, modern, uncanonical group; mostly composed of individuals who have been ordained by the Greek Old Calendarists, and are mostly former Roman Catholic Italians.

          2. And to make sure there is no confusion, by indepenent, I mean they carried on without the involvement of the EP and expressed no desire to be under either the EP or Rome.

            1. You are also insinuating that they are something ancient dating back to the Italo-Greek communities, they are not. A bit of honesty here.

        2. If you look around various blogs that even tangentially discuss the Orthodox western rite, you’ll see Dale’s name pop up with his interminable rants about how it proves that Orthodoxy is just a byzantine ethnic club. It is an utter obsession for him and it seems he is unable to approach the issue without bursting blood vessels in his eyes.

          1. Well Ryan, simply post a list of of non-Byzantine rite diocese within Eastern Orthodoxy. Seems easy enough. This is typical byzantine response to anyone who does not accept Byzantium’s “we-are-the-true-church narratives,” call it a rant if you wish to, but where is your proof that Eastern Orthodoxy is anything more than Byzantine? If you wish to consider this a rant, go for it. Even here it is readily admitted that Orthodoxy and Byzantine are synonymous. Oh, thank you for being worried about my health. Cheers.

            1. Oh, my “rants” do not simply concern the western rite, but the suppression of all non-Byzantine liturgical traditions by the Byzantine Church; this includes the ancient eastern rites as well. If the Byzantines would at least be honest in admitting that they are a church limited to a single cultural expression, end of problem, but their game playing to catholicity is problematic. Do, Ryan, please, please prove that I am wrong.

            2. Dale, you are correct that there are no non-Byzantine dioceses in Eastern Orthodoxy. I have also seen how some male converts to the Russian Orthodox grow Duck Dynasty beards and some female converts dress like 19th century Russians serfs. Then there are the name changes at ‘re-baptism when they already have good saints names like John or Michael, but are compelled to change them to Theophan or Dionysius.

            3. Oh good Lord Ryan, your last comment says it all. But then when one considers any tradition not Byzantine as “baggage” what does one expect? Are you a convert? You sound like one.

            4. Relax, Dale. The Byzantine mothership will be assimilating your little parish shortly. I am indeed a convert, as anyone can tell by my Duck Dynasty beard, Nicholas II tattoos, and studied Transylvanian accent.

  4. Only a few months ago the ROCOR received a whole diocese of the Philippine Independent Church, they original asked to use the western rite, this was refused. Oh, by the way, they were all rebaptised, including their bishop.”

    “The Philippines had thousands convert to western rite Orthodoxy, they were quickly Byzantinized.”

    I am a Roman Catholic blogger from the Philippines. I don’t claim to be an authority about the growth of Eastern Orthodoxy in the Philippines, however, I think I know enough about the situation described by Dale to comment.

    The Philippine converts to ROCOR mainly came from branches of the old “Aglipayan” or “Philippine Independent” Church. I say “branches” because the Aglipayans have been experiencing continuous schisms since the death of their founder Fr. Gregorio Aglipay in 1940. The Aglipayans have been popularly presented both in the Philippines and abroad as a sort of “Catholicism without the Pope”, but this is incorrect. Aglipay himself was just a figurehead; the real “fathers” of the Aglipayan schism were lay freethinkers and Freemasons especially Isabelo de los Reyes Sr., who early on tried to institute unitarianism and rationalism as the theological bases of Aglipayanism.

    The result was that Aglipayanism never had a coherent theology, or even a coherent liturgy; it was a church held only by a personality (Aglipay), with “priests” and “bishops” who were theologically and liturgically all over the spectrum, from Tridentine Catholicism sans papacy to outright rationalism. No wonder that when Aglipay died the church split… and continues to do so to this day.

    One effect of this is that not even the Roman Catholic Church recognizes Aglipayan baptisms. This is not just a pre-Vatican II phenomenon; it continues to this very day. (SOME Aglipayan baptisms are accepted, but only under special circumstances, and my own personal knowledge and experience is that Catholic clergy tend to conditionally baptize Aglipayans across the board.)

    Another effect is that Aglipayan liturgy is essentially a copy-paste version of whatever Catholic liturgy is available at present. If in the past this was the Traditional Latin Mass (but vernacularized and with a lot of textual vandalism), at present this would be the Novus Ordo with many of the worst abuses to found in Philippine Catholic churches — and then some. Liturgical abuses that have no place in any real Church. (I have seen photos and live broadcasts of Aglipayan bishops celebrating the liturgy wearing cope over chasuble…) Traditional Latin Mass? They don’t know what that is. (The TLM has virtually vanished from the collective memory of Filipinos…. this is a sad reality that I am painfully aware of as an advocate of the TLM.)

    So it would be absurd to try to defend the integrity of the western Tradition by demanding that the Orthodox missionaries in the Philippines recognize the baptisms of a theologically dubious group (baptisms not even recognized by the Catholic Church), and their “liturgy” as a form of Western Orthodoxy — liturgy that would not even pass muster in the Catholic Church in the Philippines (and that is saying something). It is an insult to the Western Tradition.

    By the way. I have seen pictures of Antiochian Orthodox priests celebrating the Novus Ordo with the abuses they were formerly accustomed to when they were still “independent Catholic” priests, and really, I can’t think of any sane reason why anyone would want that kind of liturgy to be respected as “Western Orthodox”, let alone as a valid expression of the genuine Western tradition.

    Last but not the least — you need to understand that in the Philippines, especially among the poor and in rural areas, religious identities are quite loose. A “Catholic church” is one with statues and pictures of the Virgin Mary and of the saints, the Sacred Heart or Divine Mercy, etc. A “priest” is someone who seems to know how to celebrate Mass. Simulation of the Mass or celebration of funerals (a good source of income) by disgraced seminarians and by “independent” priests is a very real problem here, as is the ignorance of the masses of the proper ecclesiastical boundaries. In fact this is another big reason why the Aglipayan movement has crumbled through the years — many lay Aglipayans (except the most zealous and identitarian ones) don’t see themselves as different from the Catholics, and so feel free to go to Catholic churches, receive the sacraments there. As a Catholic therefore I appreciate that the Orthodox at least are making it clear that they are *not* Catholics. Perhaps to you Westerners this seems like bigotry, but for a Filipino Catholic such as myself I appreciate it as clarity.

    1. Thanks Carlos. I don’t know, but I’d be willing to bet that the previous “charismatic Catholic” liturgies of the now-Orthodox Guatemalans were not exactly the acme of Western tradition either. The fact is that serious Anglican or Latin Catholic groups with a stable tradition have not so far been converting to Orthodoxy en masse; the Western Rite has mainly been fed by vagantes and liturgical tinkerers and, while Byzantine chauvinism is a lamentably real problem in the hierarchy, it’s easy to understand why these elements are not always taken seriously. And it is indeed ridiculous to insert a Byzantine epiclesis into the Roman mass, but even with that, it’s still probably a better representative of the Western tradition than what most of these groups were doing beforehand.

      1. Ryan, very good point. The Latin church evangelized with the Latin liturgy. The East evangelized with Eastern liturgies. Both had a tendency to uniformity and repression of variations. Eastern bodies coming back into communion with Rome as groups brought intact, living traditions-which were frequently then heavily Latinized. Unless Western Christians come back into communion with the East as groups with living, sound traditions, the experience will be different. You can’t just import the Novus Ordo into Orthodoxy, for instance.

        1. Dean Hallam of the Antiochian Church in England is bitterly opposed to using the traditional Roman rite in Orthodoxy and has declared that if a western rite is to used, it must be the novus ordo!

          1. Well, that may be so. You used to be Western Rite Orthodox-yes? I used to be Latin Catholic. I lived with the NO for 20 years. When I went to Orthodoxy, I happily accepted the Eastern rite. My church does it in English. I never lost anything by taking on the Byzantine rite, and most converts, I think, agree. The Western liturgical patrimony is a mess, save in a few places. I can’t say I’ve ever looked back at any Western liturgical practice with nostalgia. And, no, I’m not a recent convert. 12 years and counting. If a group of Western people wanted something like the Anglican Ordinariate, I would hope Orthodoxy would make room for it. If individuals convert, I suspect most of us can move into the Byzantine practice easily. I lost nothing-and gained much. I do not think of myself as a Russian, a Greek, or an Arab-and no one in my parish ever expected me to take on another ethnic identity.

            1. I have a friend whose daughter has become a Buddhist nun; she also does not understand why more English people do not embrace Buddhism, and finds herself completely at home in her new exotica. She feels that she gained much and lost nothing by her rejection of her English heritage.

    2. I have also lived in the Philippines, and attended Brent, much of what you write is true, but very much slanted in a Roman Catholic direction. There were several early schism from the Aglipayans of those who wanted to retain the traditional Latin Mass, but the main group accepted, when they were united with the Episcopal Church the “American Missal” as their liturgical standard, which was later, in a cheaper edition, published as the “Filipino Missal” (of which I have a copy); it is a very conservative liturgy, with oddly enough, the American 1928 Canon of the Mass, this was the Mass used in the Independent Church when I lived in the Philippines, it was later replaced with a novus ordo service in the late 1970’s when both Rome and the Episcopalians adopted the new liturgies. There has always been several conservative groups from the Independent Church, of which you must be aware, and it was such a group that joined ROCOR.

      By the way the group that joined the Antiochians had never belong to the Philippine Independent Church. You must be aware of that reality.

      Here is youtube posting of a mass celebrated by the Roman Catholic bishop of Cebu; the Roman Catholics in the Philippines should be very careful in casting stones at anyone.

      Needless to say your posting will make the Byzantine only crowed very happy, and one should mention the fear that the Roman Catholic Church has of any Orthodox using a traditional western Roman liturgy in the Philippines is a real one. The Russian liturgy will attract a few, but will not really flourish. Culturally it is as strange to most Filipinos as it is to most Spaniards or other Western Europeans.

      1. I think Carlos was quite clear about the sorry state of liturgical affairs among the RC’s in the Phillipines. Yes, the Byzantine liturgy is strange to most Filipinos and West Europeans, but at this point, so is the traditional Roman rite.

        1. Yes, and no. Even though the Romans did a very good job in destroying their own heritage, there still exists a memory, especially in popular devotions, which still are strong in the Philippines, perhaps the only thing that remains: but even those will have to be DESTROYED by those who are becoming Russians.

        2. One could posit the same thing about Russia as well. The Russian religious heritage was virtually destroyed across the former Soviet Union, with thousands of villages without any type of religious ministrations for almost three generations; millions brought up without a religious heritage of any sort; but when right to worship was restored and although the Russo-Byzantine heritage was only a distant memory it still resided and was revived. The same can be said for the Latin tradition in the West as well as places like the Philippines and Central and South America. And although the novus ordo, actually perfered to the ancient Roman rite by many Orthodox (included not only Hallam but Schmemann as well) it still retains a vestige of the older Latin/Roman rite and tradition.

          Considering the ethno/liturgical chauvinism of most Eastern Orthodox, is it any wonder that larger, more organised groups of Traditional Romans and Anglo-Catholics do not consider it as a viable possibility?

      2. “I have also lived in the Philippines, and attended Brent,”

        That explains a lot.

        “much of what you write is true, but very much slanted in a Roman Catholic direction.”

        No surprise. I’m Roman Catholic after all.

        “There were several early schism from the Aglipayans of those who wanted to retain the traditional Latin Mass,”

        Very small groups that have left no verifiable “remnants” behind. The main “traditionalist” group under “Bishop” Servando Castro remained loyal to Aglipay and the immediate post-Aglipay history of the Aglipayan movement is essentially a synthesis of the legacies of Castro and Aglipay. Of course, the Aglipayans in the main had vernacularized liturgies mashed with the elements of Tridentine Catholicism they liked (e.g. baroque vestments, Spanish or Roman choral vesture, etc.).

        “but the main group accepted, when they were united with the Episcopal Church the “American Missal” as their liturgical standard, which was later, in a cheaper edition, published as the “Filipino Missal” (of which I have a copy); it is a very conservative liturgy, with oddly enough, the American 1928 Canon of the Mass, this was the Mass used in the Independent Church when I lived in the Philippines, it was later replaced with a novus ordo service in the late 1970’s when both Rome and the Episcopalians adopted the new liturgies.”

        Precisely what I said in my earlier post.

        “There has always been several conservative groups from the Independent Church, of which you must be aware, and it was such a group that joined ROCOR.”

        Conservative in what way? In the extremely chaotic history of Aglipayanism post-1945 “conservative” and “liberal” are, I am afraid, practically meaningless terms.

        There are certainly no groups in the Philippines today using an authentically traditional liturgy of the Roman Rite except the SSPX and its offshoots here (sedevacantists and SSPX under Williamson) plus the few parishes of the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines that have made use of the provisions of Summorum Pontificum. I am aware of a bunch of small Episcopalian and continuing Anglican parishes here that use traditional Anglican prayerbook liturgies, but if anything the current trend in both the Episcopalian Church in the Philippines and among the Aglipayans (especially in the southern Philippines) is towards Low Church Evangelicalism. This is precisely one more reason why so many of those Aglipayans are trekking back to Rome, or going on to the Orthodox.

        “By the way the group that joined the Antiochians had never belong to the Philippine Independent Church. You must be aware of that reality.”

        Various, disunited GROUPS, not just a particular group. Liturgically and theologically those groups were (and are) all over the place. Some have byzantinized, some apparently have not. It is not my place to comment on the internal politics of the three Orthodox jurisdictions in the Philippines, except to say that I hope that the Antiochians can sort things out among themselves and the Greeks would stop excommunicating everyone else.

        I remember that one group which joined the Antiochians made the most outlandish claims, e.g. they were the small remnant of a lost Syriac church in the Philippines dating back to pre-Hispanic times and which has been persecuted to the present day. The claim was utter baloney and when one Antiochian Orthodox priest repeated it on an Orthodox forum I set him straight. I pointed out that even if such a church really existed (and there is absolutely no evidence for it and no mention of it in the most exhaustive standard reference works and monuments of Philippine history), religious persecution already ceased in 1898 when the Spaniards were overthrown, and religious liberty became the law of the land under both Americans and the Philippine revolutionary government. Had such a secret “Syriac church” existed in 1898 it would surely have emerged from its hiding places — and Aglipay wouldn’t have needed to negotiate with the Old Catholics and Constantinople for valid consecration (which he never got!)

        “Here is youtube posting of a mass celebrated by the Roman Catholic bishop of Cebu; the Roman Catholics in the Philippines should be very careful in casting stones at anyone.”

        Far from casting stones on anybody, I can point you to numerous pictures and videos showing far worse RC liturgies in the Philippines, or tell you stories of what I experienced. No need to “lecture” me on RC liturgical problems, I probably know the topic far better than you do.

        “Needless to say your posting will make the Byzantine only crowed very happy”

        I don’t care whether I make them happy or not. I am just pointing out facts that seem inconvenient to you. I am not at all blind to the implications to the Catholic Church of what you want to happen in my country and so I am speaking out.

        “and one should mention the fear that the Roman Catholic Church has of any Orthodox using a traditional western Roman liturgy in the Philippines is a real one.”

        It’s not a fear of the “traditional western Roman liturgy” but fear of making the existing chaos even worse. It is clear to me that what you want is for the sort-of-Anglican-and-Roman Aglipayan liturgical heritage (with all its post-60’s distortions) to be accepted as “Western Orthodox”, without care for the sacramental and pastoral implications. In the Philippines, where there are already so many tiny and ever-dividing churches claiming all sorts of dubious episcopal lineages while all using the Novus Ordo in greater or lesser levels of disarray, and where fake priests and self-appointed pastors roam the land, I am happy that the Russian Orthodox Church is at least trying to be clear about marking out a clear identity for itself in the Filipino context. The ecclesiastical laissez-faire you want may be fine for a liberal Episcopalian-Anglican mind but definitely not to the minds of educated Filipino Catholics.

        “The Russian liturgy will attract a few, but will not really flourish. Culturally it is as strange to most Filipinos as it is to most Spaniards or other Western Europeans.”

        Not really my place to comment on this, but then, Evangelical Protestantism is also alien and even repulsive to genuine Filipino culture. Nevertheless it has flourished.

        1. It’s also interesting to me when people outside of a culture criticize the people in that culture for choosing something that is supposedly alien (not you, obviously, since you are Filipino). How incredibly patronizing to tell other people how to navigate their religious convictions in relation to their ethnic heritage. The assumptions of motive are also insulting. Fascination with “exotica,” “playing at being Russian.” The unmitigated gall………..

          1. I completely understand what you mean, Teena. In fact his argument is precisely what many Filipino liberals and nationalists use when attacking our Hispanic (and American) heritage.

            If I’ll take Dale’s logic to its ultimate conclusion then we Filipinos should have never accepted Christianity in the first place, as it was so alien and strange compared to our pre-colonial, animistic, Hindu-influenced culture. The very concept and identity of “Filipino” (including the term itself) was a legacy of the Spaniards.

          2. I mean, the Latin rite (and Christianity itself) was once a foreign import. It took root, and became native. Orthodoxy was a foreign import to Russia. We don’t live in self-enclosed cultural and ethnic bubbles. One can certainly discuss when elements are imported into a liturgical tradition that endanger than tradition itself (the video above), but I really don’t see why Orthodoxy bringing an Eastern liturgy to the Filipinos is any worse than the Catholic church taking the Roman rite to them-a non-Western people. Is Westernizing non-Western people somehow less bad than Byzantinizing Westerners?

            1. Perhaps the five hundred or more intervening years of Latin Christianity? What you are saying is that Catholics or Anglicans converting to Byzantium are no different than pagans. Laughing at Ryan’s last posts. I would not have a problem with Byzantium and their single culture fixation, but please stop playing we are the one and only church game. That implies a sense of catholicity, which Byzantium lacks.

          3. The problem Teena is when the denomination actually demands such cultural play acting, going so far as to demand that they take names of the ethnic heritage of whatever groups they are joining. Tim Ware comes to mind. Why Kallistos and not the more common Callistus of the same name? Game playing. Athanasious or Affanssy instead of Athanasius is another. Also, love the ad hominems of mr Ryan.

  5. Dale, you assume taking on a non-Western religion (or form of a religion) is nothing but exotica, and a loss and total rejection of one’s heritage. It’s not. I can hear the voice of ancient Roman pagans now, “Why would you want to adopt that Jewish sect and lose your heritage.” Truth is more important than one’s ethnicity. I know a lot of Western Buddhists-they are both very Buddhist and very Western. I really just don’t get your hostility. It would be nice if there was a thriving Western rite in Orthodoxy. It would be nice if Rome didn’t treat the Eastern Rite Catholics like second class citizens. If a person is convinced of Catholicism or Orthodoxy, then I’m sure whatever sacrifices they make are worth it to them.

    1. I really do love having conversations with clerical converts to especially the Russian form of Byzantium, dressed up like a 19th century Russian priests, including exotic headgear, hair down to their inki-dinki on all sides, using Russian phrases calling their wives some strange name as well, finding out they they are Afannasy Smith (often pronounced Smif) and then saying, well one does not have to become Russian to be Orthodox. Whatever.

      1. Nice caricatures. I take your convert priest and raise you by Anglican priests acting like they stepped out of an Arthurian romance or a pre-Raphaelite painting, while carefully sweeping Calvinist articles of religion under the rug.

  6. “Not really my place to comment on this, but then, Evangelical Protestantism is also alien and even repulsive to genuine Filipino culture. Nevertheless it has flourished.”

    The same exact statement can be applied to Latin America despite it being supposedly infused with Catholicism. My relatives and parents who had been Catholic for generations accepted Evangelicalism hook line and sinker without even batting an eyelash when they got to this country, and I never saw what Catholic worship or the inside of a Catholic church even looked like until I was in my 20’s. Not surprising really… Hispanics are the worst Catholics EVER. I mean it. Heck, I saw a Coptic liturgy before I ever saw or heard any kind of Western liturgy. But according to the Dale line of reasoning, I’m supposed to have it in my blood, so any other expression of Christian worship is exotica and role-playing.

    1. Dale’s comments do seem redolent of what one normally reads from Nordic or Hellenic pagan reconstructionists…

      1. Whatever Ryan, this coming from a member of a denomination that considers all non-Byzantine Christians to be pagans, and rebaptises them accordingly.

    2. Yet, Julio, you are now a Catholic and have rejected your parent’s rejection of their heritage…might be in the blood after all. I remember a Russian professor at seminary declaring that Russians are Orthodox because it is in their blood.

      1. Also, Julio, I think it incredibly sad when anyone from an ancient Christian tradition rejects that heritage for the traditions of others. The fact that Orthodoxy demands that from anyone from a non-Byzantine background is almost criminal.

  7. “Yet, Julio, you are now a Catholic and have rejected your parent’s rejection of their heritage…”

    I converted to Orthodox Christianity from an Evangelical background on December 24, 2004 after having spent nearly a year (11 months) as a catechumen. I remain Orthodox to this day as are my wife, my son, and my soon to be born second child, and am not going anywhere any time soon. So I am only Catholic insofar as Orthodoxy considers itself the Catholic Faith… a view I know you do not share.

    1. Sorry Julio, I was mistaking you for Carlos, I should have realised the difference, he has remained loyal to his heritage.

      1. Let’s talk about facts on the ground. Many converts to Orthodoxy in the US do not come from liturgical traditions. A Baptist would find the Western Liturgical tradition no less alien than the Byzantine. Now, let’s look at someone like me. I was Roman Catholic. I stopped believing what the Roman church taught. So, where do I go? I have NO ancestry of Anglicanism as far as I know, and I also disagree with it theologically. There are no Western Rite Orthodox parishes where I live, and I probably wouldn’t go to them anyway. Why? Because most of the liturgies celebrated in them are cobbled together bits, rather than organic living traditions. Let’s say the WR used the Novus Ordo. That mess was something I was trying to get away from. Tridentine? I’ve been to exactly two masses celebrated in the Tridentine rite in my whole life. It’s not my heritage or my tradition-except in the most abstract sense of the term. I have known one liturgical tradition-the Novus Ordo, which, in my diocese, was pretty miserably celebrated in almost every church. So, what heritage did I abandon when I joined the Byzantine church? (1) I don’t believe in Roman Catholicism, (2) I have no heritage of Anglicanism, and I disagree with it theologically anyway, (3) There are no WR Orthodox where I live, and I question some of the liturgical practices there as well. What should I have done? Been a heretical Catholic just so I don’t go East? Further, people are not rebaptized because they are Western. They are rebaptized (when they are) because they come from heterodox traditions. There is nothing wrong with growing your hair and having a beard as a priest. There are canons for that, if I’m not mistaken. Cultures and traditions are porous-they are not self enclosed and air tight. Yes, Filipinos have been Catholic for centuries. That doesn’t change the fact that the Latin church took a Western rite to a non-Western people. They not only Christianized them, they Westernized them. Same with Latin rite Catholics in India. When the Latin church was out of communion with most of the East, did it therefore lack catholicity? I doubt they would agree. Catholicity isn’t based on how many rites you have. What should an Anglican do if they don’t agree with Rome, and neither do they agree with Anglicanism anymore? Stick it out? Let’s say we DO eventually have a thriving Western rite, based on an organic, living, Western tradition. And Anglican ordinariate for the Orthodox. What do Western people do in the mean time? Stay where they are? Continue to splinter into smaller and smaller Anglican groups? Why should non-liturgical Westerners feel the need to attach themselves to something Anglican or Latin in form? What is the ex Anglican is so traumatized by their past they just want to drop it and take on the Eastern rite? What if they really aren’t that attached to Western forms? What if there isn’t much left to be attached to for most of us?

        1. An Anglican ordinariate and if so traumatized. Sorry for the typos. BTW, Dale, if I remember correctly, Beeler said you had a Slavic mother. Weren’t you raised Orthodox? Haven’t you dropped your heritage, or decided one part of it was more important than the other? It may bother you that other people don’t parse their ethnic responsibilities like you do, but guess what? They get to do that. Fussing away at the Byzantines for evangelizing with the Byzantine rite, and insisting those of us in the West who find ourselves Orthodox in theology should not become Orthodox unless they give us more of the same we were raised in (or not raised in) seems to be nothing but a recipe for unhappiness and resentment. Yes, Orthodoxy is the True Church-no matter how many rites it has or doesn’t have. Because it has kept the faith. If I didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t be Orthodox. I’m not going to trade the truth for a rood screen and some Palestrina. Not that most Western Christians in the US were ever lucky enough to have that as a living patrimony in the first place.

          1. Teena, there are several solid Catholic traditionalist communities as well. My father was an Anglo-Catholic, and although I even speak a Slavic language and know Church Slavonic I feel more at home as a westerner (I also tire of this we are the eastern church stuff, the eastern church are the Oriental Orthodox) in a western tradition. But that has never been my point, the point, please do try and pay attention, is that the Orthodox church cannot profess to be the True Church and then limit itself to a single tradition; and demand that communities from an ancient Western or Eastern tradition (I mentioned that a whole diocese of the Syrian rite joined the Russian Church and were also Byzantinized) be forced to give up their traditions to belong to the Byzantine Orthodox Church. This is actually heretical.

            In your case, I well understand your points, but you have misunderstood mine. My problem with converts are the goofy, exotic crowd that despises their own tradition and considers it to be only “baggage” and turns around pretending to be more Russian than the Russians etc. I have, outside of the Greeks who have their own ethnic problems, always found that those most opposed to other traditions other than the Byzantine to be the most bigoted, and usually against their own heritage. I do know that such people always exist, unfortunately, Orthodoxy often encourages such ideas and give voice to them. Actually, the only normal converts I usually met are those who converted for marriage. The true believers are, well, creepy. I truly despise convert clergy who grow much hair, use Russian jargon, and most never, ever, learn to speak Russian. It is all game playing and has done much harm to the Church.

            Oh, before my Father died, and his growing unhappiness with the Church of England, he never considered joining Orthodoxy with its hatred for his own tradition and converted to Roman Catholicism.

            1. We’re not getting anywhere,but to finish my thoughts. I couldn’t be a Catholic traditionalist. I don’t believe Catholic theology. You didn’t answer the question about your mother. Did you reject her tradition? Did she? Of course we can claim to be the true church with a “single tradition,” even though, factually, we don’t just have one tradition. Were the Syrians Byzantinized against their will? Were there any theological reasons for it? Would you be as zealous against Westernized Eastern Catholics? Most converts I know do few or none of the things you mention. Since you are no longer Orthodox, I just can’t figure out why you flail away at this stuff everywhere I run into you. It’s not your church anymore. You don’t have a dog in the fight, and frankly, what converts do, church leaders do, or allow, isn’t any of your business. Despise away-who cares? You left the church. May your father rest in peace (and I mean that, sincerely). I hope he really believed what Roman Catholicism taught. The only real reason to belong to any church. I assume he didn’t demand an Anglican Ordinariate before he swam the Tiber. I understand your points perfectly. It’s the same set of vitriol against the Byzantine rite, converts, and Orthodoxy that I’ve read from you probably dozens of times at this point. You could cut and paste. For someone who left it, you certainly spend a lot of energy going on about it. That’s not ad hominem. Just an observation. My heritage is to be an American of Irish and German extraction. Irish Catholics and Protestants. German Catholics who became Baptists. None of which are anything I believe or would belong to. My mother was raised Presbyterian and Dad was raised Church of God. Neither is an option for me. I don’t despise the Catholic church, or reject the good I got from it. I’m just not going to stay in it because I’m a Westerner, if I don’t believe what it teaches.

    2. Dear Julio, Carlos, Ryan,

      Sometimes here in LA I have the experience of seeing someone on the sidewalk that is having a conversation with himself and perhaps imaginary interlocutors. I have found that in such situations steering clear and not engaging is helpful.

  8. As a final parting shot at all of this, it is interesting that the Orthodox who love to throw out barbs at virtually everyone, Anglicans, Protestants, Roman Catholics and even the Oriental Orthodox, when issues are raised that question their own purity narratives, immediately get nasty and the spittle begins to spew.

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