My question, Papist, is why the secrecy about who's been banished and who hasn't? Under mgy100's name it clearly say "Banned", but under Irish Melkite's name it says "Senior Member". Does this mean that Irish Melkite is still permitted to post, and has just been choosing not too? That's what the casual observer would assume.
I can assure you that I'm not permitted to post there or I certainly would have done so on any number of occasions recently in response to some of the inane posts that have been made of late, such as:
- a poster in process of converting to Catholicism from Anglicanism (IIRC) (and crowing about how "steeped" he was in doctrine, dogma, and general spiritual understanding) wondering aloud whether he should seek to be confirmed in the Latin Church or an Eastern Church - as if it were a choice akin to selecting an ice cream flavor
- a poster asking the difference between the Assyrian Church and the Ancient Church of the East and being answered by a Latin (who prefaced his response with a self-congratulatory remark as to how well-versed he was on the topic) who proclaimed that the Assyrians under Mar Dinkha were about to enter into communion with Rome (what a surprise that will be to Mar Bawai, excommunicated from the Assyrian Church for his own proposal to do so)
- a poster, responding to the differences between the Coptic and Ethiopian Tewahedo Orthodox Churches, by stating that Pope Shenouda is on the verge of effecting communion with Rome
- a poster stating that Eucharistic Adoration is not ordinarily observed in the Eastern Churches, Catholic or Orthodox, because our attitude toward the Eucharist is one of banality (I hope I have that correctly. I was dumbstruck when reading it, particularly as it was posted by a member who is reputedly an Eastern Catholic, not by one of the newcomers over there whose ecclesial affiliations seem to defy definition)
- a poster declaring that Russian Byzantine Catholics are part and parcel of the Melkite Church - a conclusion he reached on the basis of the fact that the Melkite hierarchy in the US have been providing episcopal support to two of the Russian parishes, which lack their own hierarchy
And those are only some of the most egregious and misinformed statements regarding belief and praxis - all or most unchallenged, because there no longer an adequate core body of knowledgeable ECs or EOs remaining. The small cadre of ByzCath posters who took up part-time residence there, I suspect in response to a plea for help from someone there, valiently tried to address issues, but were not there often enough to make a difference and (I think) began to see the place as the farcical shadow of its former self that it has become.
Frankly, I'd given up even reading there because I found it so frustrating to be unable to correct the blatant misinformation being posted and sworn to as an accurate picture of Eastern Christianity, particularly Eastern Catholicism. I've got more important and worthwhile endeavors to pursue and not enough time as is. The instances I referenced above came to my attention when I heard about and went there to read that remarkable moderator reply generated by mgy's post. It was a sad testament to the death of their EC forum as we used to know it - a place in which ideas were exchanged, accurate and meaningful info was dispensed, and we engaged in energetic but respectful debate.
I think that the greatest loss was the incredible treasury of info - not polemic or apologetics - that had been compiled there. Threads that were veritable catalogues of vesture and liturgical accoutrements - Eastern and Western; others that discussed, in incredible detail, topics such as the myriad sects that arose contemporaneously with the Old Believer movement; threads replete with illustrations of ecclesiastical architecture; and so much more - all relegated to CA's unaccessible archives - the internet version of book-burning.
As to why some are labeled as banned and others are not, with all due respect to my brothers and sisters whose identities are tagged with the scarlet "B", there is a method to the apparent madness of this selectivity. Do not kid yourselves. As busy as this board is and as well-established as ByzCath and the other Orthodox lists/forums are, the on-line Eastern community is small, Many of us have known one another for years and many of us are known, at least by nick and rep, outside the communities which we frequent.
Father Ambrose, for all the times that he had been suspended there, was among CA's most prolific posters (nearly 20K posts - more, but for the data lost in CA's 'Great Crash'). Revered or reviled, he is sufficiently well-known that it would stand out, like a sore thumb, were he obviously banned. Likewise, with no intent to blow my own horn, I'm fairly well-known in the same genre, more because of my reputation as an information-mongerer than anything else. Unlike my dear friend in the land of the kiwi, I rarely wage the battles, leaving those to the would-be apologists and theologians on both sides; I do, however, specialize in answering obscure queries - a habit that seems to afford me a niche in folks' memories. I'd be willing to guess that one will never see my dear friend Michael/Hesychios labeled, nor Padre Ambrogio - why? Because they are, without question, two of the least contentious and most highly-respected folk whom one will ever meet in posting; either could disagree with you in the most vehement manner and you'd still walk away feeling emotionally unscathed because they would do so in such a genteel manner. Those who fit these kinds of profiles are not as easily dispensed with and leaving their names unfettered gives a modicum of respectability that might otherwise be lost.
As to John's suggestion about how to identify the banned, that only works if those checking are themselves logged in. as I recollect.
Addendum: I echo the comments by my friend and brother, username. The blatant misinformation bandied about as to Eastern Catholicism (and Eastern Orthodoxy) at that site is an incredible abuse. There are Latin Catholics who are both knowledgeable and respectful of the East - my dear friend, James, comes immediately to mind and there are others as well. However, people who fit the profile username describes - their knowledge formed from a 100 year old encyclopedia, wikipedia - where you too can be listed in any royal lineage that strikes your fancy and survive as such until someone notices the inclusion, EWTN or other Latin-oriented sources that may be well-intentioned but are often ignorant, etc - are unfortunately rampant in a place like CAF. When the forum was alive and well, the kind of misinformation and misinterpretation that username and I describe would have been quickly debunked. Such is no longer the case. And people like Artemis and Woodstock, who seem to take their Eastern Catholicity with a heavy dollop of Western dressing, are hardly up to meeting the challenge (besides which I do wish that Woodstock would stop paraphrasing old text of mine when she gets on a soapbox; it's often recognizable and I would hate to have anyone associate us as perhaps the same individual).