Well, Dudeman makes a good point in that you open yourself up to distractions and propaganda that might cloud the process or make it overly intellectual and divorce it from the spiritual. It becomes a consumer choice of shopping in the Faith Superstore.
I’m here basically because I’ve felt the pull in the opposite direction. So I’m curious about what makes you tick. I’m an RC who came back to Christianity through the East. I returned to the Catholic Church, but worship in a Byz Cath parish.
One thing all Catholics who post here should know, is that our church takes an official position that corporate unity is the goal, not poaching “converts.” And I hope that my fellow Catholics respect that teaching.
“e-omnipresent,” though? If I hang out at the same few venues that Ochlophobist also frequents, that somehow endows me with ubiquity? Sheesh, even Padre Pio had to limit himself to bi-location. Moreover, how does Ochlophobist know where I’m hanging unless he’s hanging there, too? Is he also e-omnipresent, then? We should form a club. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
As for what I’ve ever done to merit such sarcastic notice from Ochlophobist–whom I’ve always liked and appreciated–well, beats the heck out of me.
I’ll pass over the egregious misrepresentation of Vatican I, which really is unworthy of someone of Ochlo’s intelligence. But I would like to correct one misstatement in his post. Even before Rod Dreher converted to Orthodoxy, he already “shared the same Cup” with Orthodox. Both communions have valid Mysteries. The Catholic Cup contains the Precious Blood of Jesus. So does the Orthodox Cup. We are not yet corporately reunited–and apparently Ochlo would rather that we not ever be–but we do both partake of the Body and Blood of Christ in our holiest sacrament. Those who maintain otherwise represent the very strain of Internet Orthodoxy that gives me the williest willies.
But enough about Ochlophobist’s apparent fascination with little ole me. His objection to the very existence of this fascinating blog is a puzzlement indeed. Apparently free speech ends where the goring of oxen begins. Or something like that.
Good points, Tony. I agree entirely that, with respect to the Orthodox, “corporate unity is the goal.” What I am doing, I am doing entirely for myself, because personally speaking, I have become unsure about certain aspects of being Orthodox. This blog is not meant to be (as I has been alleged by the Ochlophobist) a Catholic apologetics tool, or as you said a means of “poaching converts.” I welcome both Orthodox and Catholic views here, as long as they are respectful and charitable.
One thing all Catholics who post here should know, is that our church takes an official position that corporate unity is the goal, not poaching “converts.”
Well, “poaching converts” is a rather crude way of putting it. But I do not think it’s quite accurate to say that the Catholic Church aims only for corporate reunion. She invites all non-Catholics to enter into the fullness of the faith…and that, by definition, includes Orthodox. This may be a sticky wicket, but the fact remains that the Catholic Church still very much believes that the fullness of truth subsists in her (see Lumen Gentium), and that all people are called to belong to her. (The [non-dogmatic and highly controversial] Balamand Statement notwithstanding.)
This does not mean that we should specially target Orthodox for “conversion,” but neither does it mean that we should discourage Orthodox enquirers or even that we should refrain from presenting to our Orthodox brethren the compelling reasons for reconciliation with Rome. We are not relativists. We recognize that our two communions are so close that, as Dominus Iesus puts it, there “lacks little” for full communion. But lacking little is not the same as lacking nothing at all.
Elsewhere on this blog, Arturo maintained that there is no “one true church.” But this is not Catholic Teaching, any more than it is Orthodox teaching. The Orthodoc maintain that theirs is the one true church…and they invite us to enter into its fullness. We maintain (as de fide Catholic dogma) that ours is the one true church…and we invite everyone, including Orthodox, into that fullness.
I don’t see any way around this. Catholic Teaching on the Church’s uninicity, necessity, etc., is de fide. And it has been reaffirmed as recently as Dominue Iesus.
I observe, both here and at that other blog, that the Ochlophobist has got a bit under your skin. In letting that happen, I believe you have erred. I like you both; but I have come to know him as a man of very strong likes, dislikes, and opinions—almost Wittgensteinian in his punctiliousness about certain things, most of them cultural. And like most converts to Orthodoxy, he is utterly convinced there’s an unbridgeable chasm between his communion and the Roman. Thus, e.g., the standard Catholic view that the chasm isn’t all that great they regard as, itself, an important indication of just how great it is. But none of that is personal. You need to accept, serenely and prayerfully, the fact that you will not please such people.
To be fair to the Ochlophobist, I don’t think that he is an anti-Catholic bigot, or that he would identify with the monks of Athos on ecumenism.
Of course, I am not naive, and I expected a great deal of criticism from fellow Orthodox. And, frankly, I welcome it, as long as it’s reasonable and charitable. But I never expected that I would be personally attacked over my motives for starting a blog.
Next time, of course, I will check with the Ochlophobist before starting a blog.
The ancient patristic term “cathedra unitatis” is particularly interesting, as it is a reference to Cyprian of Carthage, and it has two different meanings, based on which Cyprian you are reading: Cyprian before his quarrel with Pope Stephen, and Cyprian during the quarrel. Before the quarrel, the “cathedra unitatis”, the “cathedra Petri”, was identified with the See of Rome; and after the quarrel, it was identified with the office of all bishops as successors of Peter. Obviously, this change within Cyprian’s own vision of the Church is interesting to me, as someone who is exploring the differences between Orthodox and Catholic ecclesiology.
I feel a bit like President Clinton arguing about the meaning of “is”
All that I can tell You is that at the 1st Church Council, the Church Fathers wanted to use very simple & widely used expressions: “God”, “the Son of God”, “Christ is from God”, etc. … BUT WHEN they found out that the Arian Bishops misuse these terms and interpret them in the context of Scripture verses like “I said you are all gods and all of you are sons of the Most High”, “[God the Father] from Whom everything has its being”, etc. THEN they pulled the ace off their sleeve : homoousios! Did the Fathers alter, or change the Belief? Did they add something to the Faith by it? Or did they just underwent a necessary task of clarifying doctrine? (Clarifying, not developing).
If people are going to tear into The Ochlophobist for his use of sarcasm and overstatements, then perhaps they ought to refrain from engaging in the same behavior. Just a thought…
I must confess, Diane, that I am not sure what you are referring to when you say that Catholics and Orthodox share the “common Cup.” Or, rather, I am not sure which statement of the Orthodox Church you are referring to that affirms this position. Also, simply because you personally get “the willies” from Orthodox who are incredulous concerning Grace in Roman Sacraments, doesn’t mean they are wrong. Yes, in the minds of some Orthodox (perhaps many Orthodox), the recent gestures of Pope Benedict XVI and Patriarch Bartholomew are fine and dandy, but are they? If they stand in violation of what the Orthodox Church believes and teaches, then I would imagine not. I am not coming down absolutely on one side or the other on this; but all of these “arguments” floating around for ecumenism predicated upon whim are not only unconvincing, they’re downright ridiculous.
As for the existence of this web-log, I think you ought to re-read what The Ochlophobist said before going any further with your sarcasm. His point wasn’t to say you didn’t have a “right” to start a web-log (whatever the term “right” means anymore). He was, however, openly questioning the wisdom of starting one and, indeed, what your motivations may be. You have to admit that traditionally there were few things more private than a man’s spiritual struggles; now they are open season for blogging and, of course, the attention that comes with it. I’m not convinced that it’s any less pornographic than a lot of the confessional muck that comprises “the blogosphere.”
On my own blog, I have made no secret of some of my spiritual troubles. I do not speak of them to offer a peculiarly contemporary form of “pornography” for public consumption, as if I had anything to gain by it. Nobody is going to pay me for such exhibitionism, if exhibitionism it is; and if anybody wants to give me my fifteen minutes of fame for it, they haven’t given any indication of that. There are, however, a few people who might be tempted to use my openness against me. I believe the risk worth taking for two reasons: to avoid the appearance of being holier-than-thou, and in the hope some people might find some of my account useful for their own spiritual struggles.
I’d actually like to see more people doing that. Lest you worry, I assure you that I wouldn’t be titillated and wouldn’t pay them. 🙂
He was, however, openly questioning the wisdom of starting one and, indeed, what your motivations may be.
Bolded phrase = nobody’s cotton-pickin’ business.
Just my 2 ceents’ worth….
Diane, wondering why Mr. Dreher’s protracted public soul-searching did not elicit this sort of reaction from the folks now questioning Mr. Unitatis’s right to post his far more rational, civilized, and irenic public statements
CU, don’t let Ochlophobist’s comments and sarcasm get you down. He was out of line. It’s not the first time for him and won’t be the last.
Now that you have begun to explore the Roman claims about the papacy, you need to do so as thoroughly, thoughtfully, and dispassionately as you can. If doing so in a public way is helpful to you, then by all means continue to do so. You may well be helping others who are presently exploring the same questions.
Whatever your final decision, your faith will be stronger.
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A Prayer for Unity
O Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, thou didst promise to abide with us always. Thou dost call all Christians to draw near and partake of Thy Body and Blood. But our sin has divided us and we have no power to partake of Thy Holy Eucharist together. We confess this our sin and we pray Thee, forgive us and help us to serve the ways of reconciliation, according to Thy Will. Kindle our hearts with the fire of the Holy Spirit. Give us the spirit of Wisdom and faith, of daring and of patience, of humility and firmness, of love and of repentance, through the prayers of the most blessed Mother of God and of all the saints. Amen. – Fr Sergius Bulgakov