Thursday, June 19, 2008

Is it Truth or Is It Propaganda?

Hat tip to Rorate Caeli for noticing the following article from the Religious Information Service of Ukraine.

Read it, and let it sink in before continuing...

Patriarch of Constantinople Proposes Eastern Catholicism’s Return to Orthodoxy
19.06.2008, [12:10] // Inter-Christian relations //

Munich—In a recent interview with the German ecumenical journal Cyril and Methodius, the Patriarch of the Orthodox Church in Constantinople Bartholomew I invited Eastern Catholic Churches to return to Orthodoxy without breaking unity with Rome. He noted that “the Constantinople Mother-Church keeps the door open for all its sons and daughters.” According to the Orthodox hierarch, the form of coexistence of the Byzantine Church and the Roman Church in the 1st century of Christianity should be used as a model of unity. This story was posted by on 16 June 2008.

At the same time, the patriarch made positive remarks about the idea of “dual unity” proposed by the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Archbishop Lubomyr (Husar). Patriarch Bartholomew I noted in particular that this model would help to overcome the schism between the Churches.
Now before anyone gets too excited (or concerned), I checked the original story, and it doesn't seem quite so irenic. My German is quite a bit rusty, so I hope someone will produce a translation.

Note that "1st century" should read "1st millennium".

If the Patriarch really were speaking along the lines this article suggests, he would be revealed as a Zogbyite! (Not that that's such a bad thing....) But until I see an accurate reportage of the original interview I will pray and leave it to our Lord. However, I can't help but think Moscow will not be favorable to this option unless it is seen as merely asking all us "Uniates" to come to our senses and return to the Orthodox fold.

Time will tell.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The ACLU and Planned Parenthood

First Things's On the Square (one of the best daily features on the Web) speaks to California's 'no abstinence in public education' policy and the extremes to which the ACLU and Planned Parenhood are going to prevent young people from chastity.

Read it here.

An Important Historical Lesson - The Fall of Byzantium

The epic historical study of the fall of Byzantium (recently aired in Russia) is available online at the Vizantia Website. The site includes the full film in several languages, including English.

As you can see, I've "youtube'd" it here, but go check out the site. It will be especially interesting if you read Russian, but interesting nonetheless! It is not without its particular viewpoint on East-West, Rome-Constantinople relations.

A Big T Byzantine Blog (Deep in the Heart of ...)

One of the better Eastern Christian blogs is that of Josephus Flavius, Byzantine, Texas. Josephus casts his net far and wide, finding thoughtful and informative entries to inspire prayer and reflection. Recently, he reported on the Melkite Patriarchal Synod meeting, the SCOBA (Orthodox Bishops in the US) Spring meeting, and most recently, a very good piece on children in church. (I highly recommend this last one as the issue of children's attendance at the Liturgy is a pervasive and perennial issue everywhere.)

Visit the site here. You'll soon add it to your bookmarks!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Boys? What on Earth is Happening to Them?!

Hat Tip to Touchstone's Mere Comments for reference to Amanda Witt's blog featuring a fake ad to help the overactive boy. The "ad" is from Salvo Magazine. In true web-surfing fashion, I followed a link in one of the Salvo article's comments and checked out Dr Helen Smith's blog; which, in turn, led me to a "Top 10: Worst Male Bashing Ads" list over at Ask Men. {Note: I'm not very familiar with Ask Men, so don't assume I endorse the site. For example, some of the side-bar images are a bit too risque for my tastes. However, the commercials in the top ten list are certainly worth viewing.}

Altogether, these references contribute to a disturbing view of societal pressures to follow the materialistic relativism that tries to "do one better" than nature.

Ya hahram!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Chalcedon, the Pope, and an Orthodox Priest's View

Recently, the Post and Courier ran a series of articles on authority in various religious traditions. (Unfortunately, they forgot about us!) One of the entries was written by one of the local Orthodox Priests. For various reasons, I try not to engage in polemics with the Orthodox, particularly locally; but in this case, I was strongly tempted to write a rejoinder.

After an imaginative interpretation of Rublev's Icon of the Holy Trinity (which view very traditional orthodox would sternly condemn), we come to this paragraph (emphasis added by your rambling host):
There is, indeed a "head" bishop, just as the father is the head of the Trinity. In the Church on Earth, in the first centuries, this head bishop was the Bishop of Rome, the most prominent See, and where saints Peter and Paul were martyred. In the year 451, at the fourth Ecumenical Council held in Chalcedon, this honor was accorded to the See of Constantinople, called "New Rome," as the center of the empire shifted. Since that time, the Patriarch of Constantinople has enjoyed the place of Primus — first hierarch.
Now this interpretation of the twenty-eighth canon of the Council of Chalcedon as so stated is so egregiously wrong that I didn't know whether to reply with the facts or just shake my head at the silliness of it. Ultimately, I decided to ignore it.

However, over at Eirenikon a succinct retort to the typical Orthodox arguments related to the Council has found its way into blog-print. It comes from A. St. Leger Westall's The Fathers Gave Rome the Primacy from The Dublin Review in 1903. It is well worth reading.

Here is but a snippet:
The usual Anglican and Greek Orthodox interpretation of the canon is hat the Roman primacy was the gift either of the Nicene Fathers or the Fathers generally, and was a matter of mere ecclesiastical arrangement, and not, as Rome teaches, an inheritance from St. Peter. To this view there are four main objections, each one of which appears to be fatal, and in the cumulative force are so beyond all contradiction. First, the statement, thus interpreted is historically false. Secondly, it expressly contradicts the other explicit statements of the council, and renders its letter to Leo absolutely meaningless. Thirdly, the authors of the canon would have defeated their own purpose, for they would have knowingly and wilfully made it impossible for the Pope to ratify the canon, and their success depended, as they themselves assert, on gaining his assent. Fourthly, it makes the attitude of the Pope towards the canon inexplicable. Although one of the strongest champions of the Petrine claims of his see that history can produce, he betrays from the first to last no consciousness that this crucial statement affected, or was meant to affect, the privileges of his chair as the “Cathedra Petri.”
Also of interest, one might profit by going here, here, and here.

Nowadays, Constantinople typically references canon 28 as justification for claiming all Orthodox Churches in diaspora (read: anywhere outside the traditional geographical limits of the Pentarchy) are under its jurisdiction. This claim, not surprisingly, is typically denied in strong terms by the Patriarchate of Moscow and most of those following the Slavic Tradition. Amongst Rome's original objections was that it placed Constantinople ahead of Alexandria and Antioch, both ancient Sees founded by St Peter. So be it.

Having said all this, I re-assert that it is my usual habit not to enter into polemical discussions with the Orthodox. But lest anyone be misled by the views put forth in the P&C article noted above, I felt compelled to address them at least this much.

Bishop Nicolae - Champion or Traitor?

Catholic World News reports the sad unfolding of events in Romania, both to date and likely to come in the days and weeks ahead. Metropolitan Nicolae of Banat may soon be excommunicated from the Romanian Orthodox Church. The crime, of course, is his receiving the Body and Blood of Christ at a Romanian Catholic Divine Liturgy. Bishop Sofronie of Oradea may "go down" with him. Bishop Sofronie's crime? He dared to celebrate the Great Blessing of Waters at Theophany with a Romanian Catholic Bishop!

Read the whole story here.

Behold, the angels look down and weep.