"...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.