Ancient Faith Acton?

Reading the papers today, we see the growing crash of the Western world. . . . I am totally infuriated, not so much by the Left as by the huge bankruptcy of the “Right” that generated this crash, this dead end, with a complete absence of any dream, any ideal. Stifling boredom of capitalism, of consumerism, the moral baseness of the world that they created. What comes as a “replacement” is even worse. The guilty ones are those who, having power and opportunity, have led the world into that dead end.

Freedom? Capitalism is reducing it to the freedom of profit. The essential sin of democracy is its bond with capitalism. Capitalism needs the freedom guaranteed by democracy, but that freedom is there and then betrayed and distorted by capitalists. The vicious circle of the Western world is democracy without morality–at least so it seems to me.

The choice is frightening: a terrible “Right” or an even more terrible “Left”–they both have the same disdain for man and for life. There does not seem to be any third choice, which obviously should be the Christian one. But Christians themselves are divided into right and left, without any other idea.

– Fr. Alexander Schmemann, Journals pg. 49 (October 7, 1974)

These words, penned by a great man of the Eastern Orthodox Church, appear to hold no sway with the folks at Ancient Faith Radio who, regrettably, have given streaming space to so-called “Orthodox Christian Lectures” from this year’s Acton University. It brings me no comfort to report that “Actonism” is not a unique pathology infecting segments of the Catholic world; it has now made its way (ecclesiastically) east where it’s unlikely to meet the stern resistance it deserves.



  1. aka
    August 26, 2015

    Have no fear, “it has now made its way (ecclesiastically) east where it’s likely to meet the stern [disregard] it deserves.”

    1. Gabriel Sanchez
      August 26, 2015

      I hope you’re right.

  2. […] are a few more words, penned by Eastern Orthodox Christians, for “Ancient Faith Acton” to […]

  3. Jack Quirk
    August 27, 2015

    It’s not getting the resistance it deserves over on the Western side, that’s for sure. Actonism (a neologism I will henceforth adopt) has even had some success masquerading as Catholic Social Teaching. I might add that this is being done with the aid of corporate funding.

  4. jacopo
    August 28, 2015

    Consistent with its reputation for not dogmatizing every jot or tittle (unlike the Church of Rome and its subsidiaries), the Orthodox Church, in its various councils, has never condemned low capital gains tax rates and labor arbitrage. I understand that the Eastern Empire even encouraged the immigration of skilled and industrious Turks in the 15th century due to the sharp rise in labor rates stemming from the population loss from the previous century’s plague. This greatly increased the Empire’s economic growth throughout the early modern era. I also believe Lochner cited the Desert Fathers as persuasive authority that the state should have a light touch when dealing with the economic affairs of private citizens.

    1. Ryan
      August 28, 2015

      If one were to conjure up a time of prosperity for the Eastern empire, the 15th century would not be the place to go. I would be curious to see which desert fathers are allegedly cited by Lochner. Meanwhile one can easily find sermons by Sts. John Chrysostom, Gregory of Nyssa, and Basil the Great, among others, condemning usury.

  5. Macrina Walker
    August 29, 2015

    Yikes! I’m not a huge fan of a lot of stuff on AFR, but this is really too much. Any clueless person could see the topics and be led to believe that what was being presented was actually Orthodox. Is there any way of protesting?

    1. Gregory
      August 31, 2015

      Agree – there needs to be an effective path to fight this.


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