Archive for May 17th, 2011

Still Catholic

I have come to describe myself, if I must, as “on the Orthodox end of the Byzantine Catholic spectrum”; that is I come down on the side of the Orthodox in just about every controversy, and I am in love with Russian iconography and Slavonic church music. Aesthetically, there is nothing finer than Slavic Orthodoxy, a taste of heaven on earth.

What’s more, I have become increasingly disillusioned with the Catholic hierarchy as the extent of the abuse scandal becomes clearer. And the institutional Church  has lost a great deal of credibility because of the annulment situation as well. Most publicly, the very visible Newt and Callista Gingrich offer testimony that one can wed one’s  partner in adultery with the Church’s blessing. I know of other cases like this far from the public eye. If this doesn’t bother you, that any one of us may cheat on his or her spouse, divorce them, get an annulment, then marry the adulterous partner in the Church, well I really don’t know what to say.

I have heard some say that “The Church has spoken, who are you to object?”

That’s right, sorry. I do recall Our Saviour saying “Thou art Peter and upon this Rock I will build my diocesan tribunal, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.”

No, the tribunal is a human institution, far removed from the charism of infallibility that the Church possesses.

And I am not arguing with the annulment process in principle;  I know a man who slept with one of the bridesmaids in his “wedding” the night before he “married” his spouse. Clearly no marriage took place that Saturday afternoon.

I am not even arguing that the declaration of nullity in Mr Gingrich’s first marriage is wrong. He married, right out of high school, one of his teachers, who was a good bit older. Sounds pretty likely that this was not a valid marriage to me. What I object to is that he married someone with whom he committed adultery, even if the marriage- his second- was by definition invalid.

Whatever the status objectively, it was still betrayal and deception. Just as the children of invalid unions are not illegitimate, so acts of infidelity in an invalid union are not blameless.

That so many can overlook this only deepens my sense of despair regarding the state of the faithful in this age.

But I remain Catholic. Why?

Exhibit A, on the state of interchurch relations among the Orthodox:


Exhibit B, on the situation in the OCA (Orthodox Church in America), which I think should be renamed the  “OTA”: ” Orthodox Train-wreck in America”:


Exhibit C, more on the same:


This story is pretty fascinating, not least for the role played by Rod Dreher, the “crunchy con man” who as you may recall, left the Catholic Church for Orthodoxy a mere five years ago in disgust over the scandals. Now he is in cahoots with the wonderfully named Fr Fester, who is conspiring with a bishop deposed for, among other things, knowingly ordaining a convicted child molester? After Dreher  -and/or pals – (anonymously) “outed” an alleged homosexual in the other camp of the controversy?

So, how do you like your new Church so far, Mr Dreher?

Exhibit D, on the crisis in the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese in North America, where the tensions between the ethnics and converts (mostly zealous and contentious former evangelicals) have reached the boiling point:


In other words, it’s a mess.

Not that the Catholic Church isn’t also a mess, but better the mess you know…

If  Orthodoxy possessed as much unity and order and fraternal charity as it does beauty I might be tempted.

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Here is the American Conservative article on the Southern Agrarians that I promised to post when it became available:


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Signs of Our Decline

It’s all entertainment, baby: Disney cashes in, trademarks Seal Team 6 (which killed bin Laden):


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From Sojourners, an interview with Ben Cohen, of Ben & Jerry’s fame, on military spending:

Cohen: There are two demonstrations I’ve done that have been incredibly popular. One is the BB demonstration and the other is the Oreo demonstration. The BB demonstration was shown to me by Sen. Alan Cranston of California. He used it to demonstrate the size of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. He would drop one BB into a container to represent the 15 kiloton bomb that went off over Hiroshima. Then he would drop in 60 BBs to represent enough nuclear weapons to blow up all of Russia. Then he would say, “And now I want to show the number of BBs that represent the U.S. nuclear arsenal,” and he would pour in 10,000 BBs, and the noise just went on forever. It was so clearly illogical and irrational, and so clearly a waste, not just of money, but of our spirits and our soul….


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The Party of small government strikes again:

“Osama bin Laden had been dead only a few days when House Republicans began their efforts to expand, rather than contract, the war on terror. Not content with the president’s wide-ranging powers to pursue the archcriminals of Sept. 11, 2001, Republicans want to authorize the military to pursue virtually anyone suspected of terrorism, anywhere on earth, from now to the end of time.”

More: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/17/opinion/17tue1.html?hp

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