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Author Topic: book review in THE LATIN MASS  (Read 2350 times) Average Rating: 0
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pacara
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« on: December 10, 2002, 07:02:56 PM »

Hello to all! Since I am new to this board, I would like to make a brief introductory comment before moving on to the subject outlined above:

In terms of my relationship to Orthodoxy, I would describe myself as a "seeker";  I've been attending an OCA parish for almost 6 months and hope ( God willing ) to be received into the Church within a year or two. Now, on to the subject.

The Fall 2002 issue of THE LATIN MASS contains a review of a book ( "The Russian Church and the Papacy" by Vladimir Soloviev ) by author HW Crocker III. Mr. Crocker makes some fairly outrageous statements that deserve to be known outside of the circle of that magazines' normal readership.

( since the board forbids posting any copyrighted material in its entirety, I hope I will be forgiven for quoting selectively )


1st EXCERPT:

"...As Newman might have said, but didn't, 'To be deep in history is to realize that the Eastern Orthodox are crazy'. They are now, they were then, and they always have been."

2nd EXCERPT:

"...wherever you find the Eastern Orthodox, there you will find people who live not by the words of Jesus- 'forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us'- ... but by the grudge and the 'narcissism of small differences', in Freud's apposite phrase (sic). In their surly defensiveness, hatred, and envy of the West, the Eastern Orthodox are the Islamicists of the Christian world. The West offers the hand of friendship, the East responds with intemperance, abuse and fear."

3rd EXCERPT-

"...but while the Orthodox surrendered the secular realm to the emperor or the czar- wanting nothing more than to assert their nationalistic, ecclesiastical independence from Rome- and retreated to their monasteries, 'the Western Church, faithful to the apostolic mission, has not been afraid to plunge into the mires of history'. "

4th EXCERPT-

"...to the additional horror of his Eastern Orthodox readers- and to the horror of Protestants who have fled into the Orthodox fold seeking tradition and a defense against liberalism- Soloviev says flatly that the Orthodox churches are Protestant. Like the Protestants, the Orthodox churches reduce the fullness of the Christian vision. In the Orthodox case, a sort of 'sola pietas' boxed within 'past history, dogmatic formula, and a liturgical ceremonial’. "

5th EXCERPT-

"... for readers who take no interest in the East, it is still worth reading for the light it shines on our own Catholic faith. For readers who are dyspeptic, antiquarian, nationalist, cranky, bearded fanatics, it might even offer inspiration to join the Eastern Orthodox. But if you, like me, yearn for the Sack of Byzantium to become a feast day of the Church, and feel wistful when you muse on that one shining moment when there was a French speaking Crusader kingdom there, this book will be a pleasure and a confirmation."

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« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2002, 07:19:15 PM »

'To be deep in history is to realize that the Eastern Orthodox are crazy'.

"...wherever you find the Eastern Orthodox, there you will find people who live not by the words of Jesus- 'forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us'- ... but by the grudge and the 'narcissism of small differences', in Freud's apposite phrase (sic). In their surly defensiveness, hatred, and envy of the West, the Eastern Orthodox are the Islamicists of the Christian world. The West offers the hand of friendship, the East responds with intemperance, abuse and fear."

"But if you, like me, yearn for the Sack of Byzantium to become a feast day of the Church, and feel wistful when you muse on that one shining moment when there was a French speaking Crusader kingdom there, this book will be a pleasure and a confirmation."

Pot. Kettle. Black.

He calls us crazy and hateful and then goes on wiuth his hateful crazy talk. See I can have sympathy for Traditionalist Catholics, but so many of them, sadly, truly hate the Orthodox. How sad.

BTW welcome to the board, pacara.
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« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2002, 08:59:27 PM »

What a...uh..."crock."

Are you sure these aren't excerpts from the "Trollite Inquirer?"

If the Orthodox evoke such calumny from persons of such dubious sanity and Christian character, they must be walking in the light of Christ and driving 'Old Sparky' and his infernal minions daffy in the process.

Waving the flag of Justinian--in sympathy--but this hatred between Christians must stop. Sufism is more soothing to the soul, tolerant, and Christ-like. Jesus isn't the satanic character you Christians portray him to be. We pray you find "mubarak."

Allahuakbar!

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« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2002, 09:47:08 PM »

Welcome, pacara!  

"...As Newman might have said, but didn't, 'To be deep in history is to realize that the Eastern Orthodox are crazy'. They are now, they were then, and they always have been."

In my case, I found the opposite to be true.  To go deep into Christian history is to see that at some point, Rome strayed.  

"...wherever you find the Eastern Orthodox, there you will find people who live not by the words of Jesus- 'forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us'- ... but by the grudge and the 'narcissism of small differences', in Freud's apposite phrase (sic). In their surly defensiveness, hatred, and envy of the West, the Eastern Orthodox are the Islamicists of the Christian world. The West offers the hand of friendship, the East responds with intemperance, abuse and fear."

Is it "friendly" to kick a man in the crotch and then offer to help him up, and then boast about what a great guy you are for helping him get up?  That is what the West has done to the East many times, but they choose to ignore that fact these days.  No, it is not friendly...it would have been friendlier for them to have minded their own affairs.  

"...but while the Orthodox surrendered the secular realm to the emperor or the czar- wanting nothing more than to assert their nationalistic, ecclesiastical independence from Rome- and retreated to their monasteries, 'the Western Church, faithful to the apostolic mission, has not been afraid to plunge into the mires of history'. "

The Church as the wielder of secular power...was that a part of the apostolic mission?  I don't remember that one...  

"...to the additional horror of his Eastern Orthodox readers- and to the horror of Protestants who have fled into the Orthodox fold seeking tradition and a defense against liberalism- Soloviev says flatly that the Orthodox churches are Protestant. Like the Protestants, the Orthodox churches reduce the fullness of the Christian vision. In the Orthodox case, a sort of 'sola pietas' boxed within 'past history, dogmatic formula, and a liturgical ceremonial’. "

A traditional Roman Catholic writing in "Latin Mass" magazine is going to lecture the Orthodox about "past history, dogmatic formula, and a liturgical ceremonial"?  

Get a life, you quack!    

"... for readers who take no interest in the East, it is still worth reading for the light it shines on our own Catholic faith. For readers who are dyspeptic, antiquarian, nationalist, cranky, bearded fanatics, it might even offer inspiration to join the Eastern Orthodox. But if you, like me, yearn for the Sack of Byzantium to become a feast day of the Church, and feel wistful when you muse on that one shining moment when there was a French speaking Crusader kingdom there, this book will be a pleasure and a confirmation."

The caricature of Orthodox Christians as dyspeptic, antiquarian, nationalist, cranky, bearded fanatics is, with the exception of the facial hair, a pretty good description of what I'll call "Crocker Catholics".  They are disgruntled about the direction the RCC has taken since Vatican II (if I were them, I'd be too).  They are antiquarian, desiring to follow the old Tridentine rites and rejecting the new revised Roman rite as inferior (best case scenario) or invalid (worst case scenario), as well as trying to promote a "1950's Golden Age of Catholicism" way of life within their communities.  They are nationalist, too, in a sense.  Ever flip through an Ignatius Press catalogue?  Ever think about the neo-con theological/liturgical preferences?  All the theologians are British, French, or German, and so are the liturgical preferences (as far as I can tell).  One need look no further than Crocker's own statement: "wistful when you muse on that one shining moment when there was a French speaking Crusader kingdom there".  Cranky?  Don't even get these guys started about the fall out from Vatican II.  

It's a shame that this guy feels such hatred towards a group of people who are probably the closest to himself, given his impressions of the Orthodox.  I'm willing to cut the guy some slack, though.  Not only do I think I've wasted my time on this guy, but I figure if I had been watching my Church sink deeper and deeper for the past forty years, I'd be bitter too.

Of course, I do not have the negative view of Roman Catholicism which this guy has for Orthodoxy, but it is interesting how all this can be turned around on him and the movement he belongs to.  I wonder how he'd take it.
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« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2002, 10:10:40 PM »

Pacara,

First, I'd like to say hello, and welcome my "unofficial" welcome to the forum.  It's always nice to see new people posting.

Reading this, I am mightily tempted to put my psychoanalysis cap on; particularly because in his diatribe, I see something of my own spiritual conflict (as I was on my way out the door of the RCC and towards the Orthodox Church).  I too was a "Latin traditionalist", though probably more "right of center" than this fellow (writing for the Latin Mass means he's probably associated with the "indult" crowd, not to be confused with the true pariahs of the RC mainstream, the "evil Lefebvrists", which I was once numbered amongst.)

I (too?) was kicking against the goad, and for a while even took a decidedly hostile view of Orthodox Christianity; partially out of jealousy, largely out of fear.  I even had as rosey a view of the Crusades as one could possibly have, and downplayed Latin faults, while seeing every possible fault in both Orthodoxy, and Orthodox Christians.  Having seen the reality however (and come to know so many Orthodox Christians personally, of varying backgrounds) I now see how misguided I was.

I find this gentleman's position odd though, since (as I said), he's most likely an FSSP'er or associated in some way with the indult.  While these people are far right of modern Rome, unlike the Lefebvre/SSPX people, they really have not taken extreme enough of a resistance position to warrant this kind of "un-ecumenical" tone.  I wonder if he's heard that as of late we've been dubbed "the other lung" by his Pope.

There's no need for me to comment on any particular thing this guy has written (others have done that already).  While to many he's just obnoxious, I pity him.  I also think (oddly enough) people like him are, oddly enough, just teetering at "the east's" door - "I would rather you be hot or cold", after all.  Fr.Seraphim (of blessed memory) once wrote that it is people like these, and not the mushy middle (indifferent folks) who are often the closest to coming to the truth.  I will pray for this chap.

Seraphim

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« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2002, 02:25:23 AM »

I am truly convinced that those traditionalist catholics who attack the Orthodox Church do so because they are ignorant. However, we have to understand that their possition is difficult, because of what traditional catholicism represents, they have to reject Ecumenism, specially Protestantism (because of the claim that the Roman Church after Vatican II got protestantized). But they cannot reject Ecumenism with Protestants and approve Ecumenism with Orthodox because their enemies would accuse them of inconsistence (specially the sedevacantist radicals).

But as you said, I'm sure that most traditional catholics, if they attend the Orthodox Liturgy, will easily understand that in many aspects they're indeed closer to Orthodox than to their "modernized" brothers.

I quote this setting of "The Ottaviani Intervention" written by Cardinal Ottaviani, a faithful Catholic, commited with Christian unity, and who always fought for the christian tradition:

"The Apostolic Constitution makes explicit reference to a wealth of piety and teaching in the Novus Ordo borrowed from Eastern Churches. The result - utterly remote from and even opposed to the inspiration of the oriental Liturgies - can only repel the faithful of the Eastern Rites. What, in truth, do these ecumenical options amount to? Basically to the multiplicity of anaphora (but nothing approaching their beauty and complexity), to the presence of deacons, to Communion sub utraque specie.
Against this, the Novus Ordo would appear to have been deliberately shorn of everything which in the Liturgy of Rome came close to those of the East.

Moreover in abandoning its unmistakable and immemorial Roman character, the Novus Ordo lost what was spiritually precious of its own. Its place has been taken by elements which bring it closer only to certain other reformed liturgies (not even those closest to Catholicism) and which debase it at the same time. The East will be ever more alienated, as it already has been by the preceding liturgical reforms.

By the way of compensation the new Liturgy will be the delight of the various groups who, hovering on the verge of apostasy, are wreaking havoc in the Church of God, poisoning her organism and undermining her unity of doctrine, worship, morals and discipline in a spiritual crisis without precedent."



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« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2002, 12:51:56 PM »

I am dumbstruck by this - worse than New Oxford Review's attack nearly two years ago.

That a traditional liturgical Christian in the Catholic Church would attack other Christians with the same core orthodox beliefs and a similar commitment to a traditional rite seems to me the height of bloody-mindedness.

Quote
"The Russian Church and the Papacy" by Vladimir Soloviev

Soloviev got some of his ideas from Jacob Boehme — an unlikely hero for Catholics.

Quote
"...As Newman might have said, but didn't, 'To be deep in history is to realize that the Eastern Orthodox are crazy'. They are now, they were then, and they always have been."

Uncharity/defamation aside, this can't be the position of the Catholic Church because all of Eastern Orthodoxy's positive doctrinal statements are completely Catholic. IOW, to Catholics, Orthodoxy IS Catholicism circa 1000 in Greek theological language. So to attack Eastern Orthodoxy is to attack the foundational beliefs of their own church.

Quote
"...wherever you find the Eastern Orthodox, there you will find people who live not by the words of Jesus- 'forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us'- ... but by the grudge and the 'narcissism of small differences', in Freud's apposite phrase (sic). In their surly defensiveness, hatred, and envy of the West, the Eastern Orthodox are the Islamicists of the Christian world. The West offers the hand of friendship, the East responds with intemperance, abuse and fear."

Has this person never read Dostoevsky? He went over my head (I admit I don't get The Brothers Karamazov) but the simple Christianity - humility, forgiveness - of Russian Orthodoxy is obvious.

However, the charges of uncharity and the narcissism of small diferences do apply to people in the East as well as the West, inventing differences where there really aren't any. Every time when in English I hear 'The-o-TO-kos!' where 'Mother of God' will work, I think of this.

Quote
"...but while the Orthodox surrendered the secular realm to the emperor or the czar- wanting nothing more than to assert their nationalistic, ecclesiastical independence from Rome-

What 'surrender'? The emperor and czar were Orthodox too. Did Catholics 'surrender' the secular realm to the Hapsburgs?

Quote
and retreated to their monasteries, 'the Western Church, faithful to the apostolic mission, has not been afraid to plunge into the mires of history'. "

OMG. Ironically he sounds just like a liberal church-worker -¦-+-+-¦-Ç-¦-é-ç-+-¦ in his own church making fun of people like him — Tridentine people. 'Give up that artsy-fartsy old-fashioned stuff and live in the modern world — give up those silly devotions and work for PEACE and JUSTICE, man.' I have had something a lot like this thrown in my face, to my face, by an angry Catholic of the conservative persuasion. Makes Khomiakov and Popovich look right — that for all their complaints these people really are part of the same entity as Amchurch and even the Protestants. All on the same team.

Quote
"...to the additional horror of his Eastern Orthodox readers- and to the horror of Protestants who have fled into the Orthodox fold seeking tradition and a defense against liberalism-

Aha. The writer hates the Orthodox because he sees them as competition.

Quote
Soloviev says flatly that the Orthodox churches are Protestant.

Quote
Like the Protestants, the Orthodox churches reduce the fullness of the Christian vision.

Too true in practice - I find it hard to believe that God meant for the one true Church to be several jurisdictions trying to blackguard each other. And while too often Catholics like this fellow reduce Catholicity to Romanness, there exists Byzantine Rite chauvinism as well.

Quote
In the Orthodox case, a sort of 'sola pietas' boxed within 'past history, dogmatic formula, and a liturgical ceremonial’. "

The same thing Novus Ordo types say about the writer of this screed and his kind, and the same thing liberal, feminist, homosexualist, etc. Episcopalians say about those Episcopalians who stick to historic liturgies, the Bible and the creeds. Again, bitterly ironic, like this guy is inadvertently sawing off the branch he is sitting on.

Quote
"... for readers who take no interest in the East, it is still worth reading for the light it shines on our own Catholic faith. For readers who are dyspeptic, antiquarian, nationalist, cranky, bearded fanatics, it might even offer inspiration to join the Eastern Orthodox.

Again, this writer sounds just like his enemies in the Catholic Church.

Quote
But if you, like me, yearn for the Sack of Byzantium to become a feast day of the Church, and feel wistful when you muse on that one shining moment when there was a French speaking Crusader kingdom there, this book will be a pleasure and a confirmation.

One wishes the writer is visited by apparitions of Leonid Feodorov and Metropolitans Andrew (Sheptytsky) and Joseph (Slipyj), who can take turns whacking him upside the head.

I wonder if he hates Eastern Catholics too.

Quote
It's a shame that this guy feels such hatred towards a group of people who are probably the closest to himself

Exactly.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2002, 01:51:54 PM by Serge » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2002, 02:57:25 PM »

I wonder what this guy thinks of his beloved Pope running to embrace the other lung of Catholicism.
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« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2002, 03:57:13 PM »


 Well, like some  of the "Traditionalists", he probably thinks himself "more Catholic then the Pope"  Always a dangerous course!   Roll Eyes
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« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2002, 04:35:53 PM »

There's a Crocker and I think it's this guy who is a convert to Catholicism.  He's written some historical books about Catholicism.  I think we're seeing that infamous 'convertitis' again because frankly I can't imagine my most ultra-montanist trad friends going to this extreme.  

BTW, The Latin Mass is really on the fringes on the indult movement these days and I think a lot of the good FSSP loyal to the pope types wouldn't read it anymore.  It's out there with Catholic Family News and The Remnant.  To be honest, I share their opinion that the conservatives are a bit schizophrenic but I hate their attitude about the Orthodox.  I also think that they are extremely uncharitable.  These are the folks who coined the term 'neo-Catholic' which is an insult to every good conservative Catholic.  Of course they justified their use of that hateful term and felt really satisfied with themselves for being 'honest', etc.  The whole thing reminded me of the "RCRO" debate on the Indiana List.
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« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2002, 06:47:24 PM »

Serge, kudos to your expressing much of my own sentiments.

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