A need for Orthodoxy in general, Father, or the WRO in particular?
Maybe this is a topic for another thread, but is there that high of a need for Western Rite parishes where they are looking to expand?
This continent in general is underserved by Orthodoxy: many areas you still have to drive hours to get to a Church.
WRO is underpromoted: I've known many people who Orthodoxy too exotic and jarring. I've met many who attend EO Churches who would attend a WRO parish if that were an option.
Not to sound obtuse, and I probably will, but how do we realistically know that there is a real need, outside of anecdotal evidence?
WRO in particular actually. i was just wondering if it really is a big hang up for people.
I had a friend you used to say "I can go to the local Greek Orthodox Church, and see half of the local Greeks, and then go to the local Episcopalian and Methodist Churches, and see the other half." Given the numbers of those of an Orthodox ethnic background, who cannot be called lapsed or unchurched because they do go to church, and the numbers of those who can't convert because they can't relate to someone else's ethnocentrism, yes it is a really big hang up for some people. Not all, Father, but a good number.
Interesting. Now I know that this goes into a WHOLE other topic, and If I detract too much from the OP, please forgive, but can't we say that there's a "better solution" than just what may be considered a "quick fix" by placating people's sensibilities through something "familiar"...? I'm TOTALLY not even approaching this pastorally, but rather trying to think out loud about a problem/issue that I DEFINITELY know that I don't fully understand.
Probably what the crux of my question is: when does conversion happen and how does placating/meeting them half-way end. To be blunt...lol.
For the Americanized Orthodox, Father, there was no conversion. They had been Wessternized in every other part of their lives, with the rest of the week bringing Sunday with it. The ones who had a WRO stayed Orthodox, the ones who didn't, didn't. Whether those who went Episcopalian or Methodist, if they would come back if the WRO was available, I can't say.
Then there were those who converted to an Eastern rite Orthodox Church and then faced with a WRO parish or a Western wannabe Easter rite Orthodox parish (Da Vinci Last Supper over the Royal Doors, Old Man God the Father, Baby Jesus and the Dove, etc), who figured they might as well go for the real thing and went WRO (and are happy for it).
Then there are those mixed marriages I've known (Orthodox and congregatinalist Protestant American) who were married in the Orthodox Church, but settled on the Episcopalians as a compromise between American identity and Eastern exotica. That ends up all the way, conversion outside the Church. I've met a few at WRO parishes, who of course, stayed Orthodox and converted the non-Orthodox spouse.
Then there are those who don't want to end up like Jewish proselytes (who have to, according to the Talmud, say "their Fathers," when their correligionists say "our Fathers"), and go through life like step children, adopting someone else's ancestry and heritage, and want to keep what they can of their own. I don't recall seeing veneration of post-schism Western saints among the WRO, but I have seen it amongst the Eastern Rite Orthodox.
When does conversion start? Like with anyone who converts to an Eastern Rite Orthodox Church, with the anathematization of previous heresies. The WRO Missal doesn't have the XXXIX Articles, and doesn't recognize Anglican orders. Those who follow the rite of St. Gregory have remained firmer in Orthodoxy than, IMHO, Met. Zizoulas and HAH the EP with all this talk of how to accept the "petrine ministry" as if there ever was such a thing as a "petrine ministry" besides the Orthodox episcopate. I don't know any WRO who wobble on the IC, but I know several EO who do.
The hierarchs keep on engaging in these talks with the Vatican: does anyone think that they are going to talk the Vatican into adopting the rites of Constaninople? Is that even being attempted? If the primates of the Autocephalous Churches are not demanding that bishops who persist in heresy give up their rites, why should we demand it of those WRO who confess the Orthodox Faith?
"From the rising to the setting of the sun the Name of the Lord shall be praised": why should I call the Psalmist a liar, insisting that praise only goes from sunrise in the East until noon? The Church of the East was content to embrace the West in the Western Captivity. Why not Western Freedom for those who embrace Orthodoxy?