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Author Topic: Do Orthodox engage in reverse uniatism?  (Read 3283 times) Average Rating: 0
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Peter J
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« on: June 03, 2012, 08:42:40 AM »

Dear forum members,

We've had a few debates, and will probably have a few more in the future, about whether Western-Rite Orthodoxy is “uniatism” or not. That is not, however, what I want to discuss on this thread (although I'm not opposed to talking about it on another thread, if someone wants to start one for that purpose).

What I actually want to ask here is, do Orthodox engage in a bait-and-switch tactic that could be described as “reverse uniatism”?

From my experience, it seems like the answer is Yes. Without making you listen to my whole life story, the basic message that I have heard over-and-over from Orthodox is (paraphrasing of course) “If you won't leave Catholicism, you can at least be one of us Eastern Christians by joining one of the Eastern Catholic Churches.”

But, with time and digging-a-little-deeper, I have found that beneath the surface is another message (the “switch” part of bait-and-switch) that being Eastern Catholic really doesn't cut it after all, that being Eastern Catholic is only a “band-aid”, or even that Eastern Catholics can only be true-to-themselves by converting to Orthodoxy.

I appreciate anyone's thoughts on this. Sincerely,
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« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2012, 09:18:22 AM »

I do not think that you have been a victim of "bait and switch" as much as that you have not been talking with Orthodox Christians.  No Orthodox Christian would tell you that you could be an Eastern Catholic and be Orthodox.  We do not see Eastern Catholics as Orthodox, we see them as apostates.  Now, as to the Western Rite, I do indeed have some sympathy for your view.  It does seem as thought the Western Rite was intended as a gimmick to get converts . . . on the surface.  On the other hand, when I actually bothered to look into the matter (rather than just assume all Western Rite Orthodox were simply half converted Anglicans), I found that some of the more conservative proponents of the Western Rite (like St. John of San Fransisco) believed that the "Western" Church was a legitimate Church for 1000 years, and there is no reason that those who come back to Orthodoxy from the West should not be allowed to keep the form of worship that was theirs when they were Orthodox.  The Byzantine Rite is NOT Orthodoxy, it is but one manifestation of Orthodox Worship.  I think that once this understood here in the United States, we will be on our way to spreading the Word. 

So, based on what you have written, it is possible that you were exposed to some form of reverse uniatism.  However, that would be no more Orthodox than any other form of uniatism.  There is NO unia in Orthodoxy, only the Church . . . whichever right it chooses to use to worship the one God.

BTW - you posted an excellent question and I hope that there is good discussion concerning it.
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« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2012, 10:07:40 AM »

We do not see Eastern Catholics as Orthodox, we see them as apostates.

We do? How can a person who was born and raised into Eastern Catholicism without any exposure to Orthodox be categorised as "apostate"? Heterodox or heretic for sure but apostate sounds a little far-fetched to me.
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« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2012, 10:56:40 AM »

The problem of uniatism is that it lured people away from the Truth. Our "reverse uniatism," if that is an accurate description, does not have this problem.

I would agree though that blanketing Eastern Catholics with the title "apostate" is a bit much.
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« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2012, 12:26:50 PM »

We do not see Eastern Catholics as Orthodox, we see them as apostates.

We do? How can a person who was born and raised into Eastern Catholicism without any exposure to Orthodox be categorised as "apostate"?

Good question. And I would add, how can a person who was born and raised into Latin Catholicism and then switched to Eastern Catholicism be categorised as "apostate"? (I suppose that might be claimed by some radical-fringe-sedevacantist "Catholics", but I doubt Punch intended to side with them. Grin)
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« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2012, 12:28:14 PM »

No Orthodox Christian would tell you that you could be an Eastern Catholic and be Orthodox. 

It isn't an issue of Orthodox telling us we can be Orthodox by being Eastern Catholic. It's an issue, to put it in a nutshell, of being an Eastern Christian.

(Note: I'm speaking largely from my own experience, but at the same time I think that many other peoples' experiences are similar to mine.) For a number of years, starting in about 2004 or so (a couple years after I started attending a Melkite parish) my focus, my goal, was to be a good Eastern Christian. But over time, I began to feel like this goal was not becoming clearer but rather more and more nebulous. Initially I hadn't seen anything suspicious about the fact that Eastern Orthodox had been encouraging me to become Eastern Catholic; but once I took a good hard look at it, it did seem quite suspicious -- particularly in view of other messages from Orthodox, e.g. the notion that Eastern Catholics can only be "true to themselves" by converting to Orthodoxy(!)
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« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2012, 01:38:30 PM »

No Orthodox Christian would tell you that you could be an Eastern Catholic and be Orthodox. 

It isn't an issue of Orthodox telling us we can be Orthodox by being Eastern Catholic. It's an issue, to put it in a nutshell, of being an Eastern Christian.

(Note: I'm speaking largely from my own experience, but at the same time I think that many other peoples' experiences are similar to mine.) For a number of years, starting in about 2004 or so (a couple years after I started attending a Melkite parish) my focus, my goal, was to be a good Eastern Christian. But over time, I began to feel like this goal was not becoming clearer but rather more and more nebulous. Initially I hadn't seen anything suspicious about the fact that Eastern Orthodox had been encouraging me to become Eastern Catholic; but once I took a good hard look at it, it did seem quite suspicious -- particularly in view of other messages from Orthodox, e.g. the notion that Eastern Catholics can only be "true to themselves" by converting to Orthodoxy(!)

I don't think Eastern Orthodoxy, on any official level, encourages people to become Eastern Catholics so they'll be good Eastern Christians. Eastern Christianity exists in its fullness only  in Orthodoxy.

Individual Orthodox can encourage that, I guess, but I don't see why they'd do such a thing.

Were the same Orthodox who told you to be EC the ones who told you that Eastern Catholicism is Orthodoxy-lite?
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« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2012, 02:13:37 PM »

Were the same Orthodox who told you to be EC the ones who told you that Eastern Catholicism is Orthodoxy-lite?

At the risk of sounding evasive, it's hard to answer b/c "Orthodoxy-lite" seems like a loaded phrase.

Also, I would say encouraged to become Eastern Catholic -- rather than told to become Eastern Catholic -- by some Orthodox. No Orthodox has ever told me to become Eastern Catholic. More of a you'll-be-closer-to-us-if-you-do kind of message.
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« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2012, 03:11:25 PM »

No Orthodox Christian would tell you that you could be an Eastern Catholic and be Orthodox. 

It isn't an issue of Orthodox telling us we can be Orthodox by being Eastern Catholic. It's an issue, to put it in a nutshell, of being an Eastern Christian.

P.S. Although I don't recall any Orthodox saying that Eastern Catholic are Orthodox, some Orthodox have come pretty close to saying that ...

Quote
We had an EO priest serving today whom I had not met before. Chatting during coffee, he asked where I was originally from. When I answered, he said: That is a center of Orthodoxy in America. I replied that I am a Byzantine Catholic. He said: "Oh it's the same thing."

That was recounted by dvdjs (don't know his full name) here.
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« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2012, 03:33:13 PM »

We do not see Eastern Catholics as Orthodox, we see them as apostates.

We do? How can a person who was born and raised into Eastern Catholicism without any exposure to Orthodox be categorised as "apostate"? Heterodox or heretic for sure but apostate sounds a little far-fetched to me.

As an organization.  What I think about individuals within an organization is a differant topic, and my thoughts may very well surprise you.  But cannot deny that the entire Unia was born of apostasy.  Belonging to an apostate organization does not necessarily make you personally an apostate any more than belonging to an Orthodox parish makes you Orthodox.
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« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2012, 03:36:53 PM »

No Orthodox Christian would tell you that you could be an Eastern Catholic and be Orthodox. 

It isn't an issue of Orthodox telling us we can be Orthodox by being Eastern Catholic. It's an issue, to put it in a nutshell, of being an Eastern Christian.

(Note: I'm speaking largely from my own experience, but at the same time I think that many other peoples' experiences are similar to mine.) For a number of years, starting in about 2004 or so (a couple years after I started attending a Melkite parish) my focus, my goal, was to be a good Eastern Christian. But over time, I began to feel like this goal was not becoming clearer but rather more and more nebulous. Initially I hadn't seen anything suspicious about the fact that Eastern Orthodox had been encouraging me to become Eastern Catholic; but once I took a good hard look at it, it did seem quite suspicious -- particularly in view of other messages from Orthodox, e.g. the notion that Eastern Catholics can only be "true to themselves" by converting to Orthodoxy(!)

Peter, I guess that I do not understand the push to be an "Eastern Christian".  Christianity is not an East / West issue.  I really do not believe that worshiping using one rite or the other makes one any more or less a Christian.
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« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2012, 03:40:06 PM »

From my experience, it seems like the answer is Yes. Without making you listen to my whole life story, the basic message that I have heard over-and-over from Orthodox is (paraphrasing of course) “If you won't leave Catholicism, you can at least be one of us Eastern Christians by joining one of the Eastern Catholic Churches.”

I have never heard an Orthodox Christian of any kind (i.e., lay or clergy) say anything even vaguely similar to this. I accept that you are honestly recounting your personal experience, but it is totally alien to my own experience of Orthodoxy (and clearly to others responding on this thread) so I'm not even sure how to start answering you.

The only thing I have ever seen Orthodox say--and this is particularly true of what our saints have said and the official pronouncements of our synods (i.e., authoritative sources) is what you are calling the 'switch' part--that Byzantine rite catholics can only be truly Orthodox (or indeed truly Catholic) by actually becoming Orthodox.

So I don't think you are seeing Orthodox engaging in 'bait-and-switch' in the sense that one person/source is telling you one thing when they don't actually mean it. Rather you have encountered some poorly catechized Orthodox individuals who actually (but incorrectly) believe what they are saying to you--but then as you probe deeper and begin to encounter actual Orthodox teaching it turns out to be different. (For comparison, I can find cafeteria catholics in the US who would say, "oh don't worry about the rules against contraception, no one actually believes that stuff." But when I look at actual Church documents, or talk with real traditional RC's, it turns out, yes, the RC Church does take the whole of humane vitae seriously. That doesn't mean that Rome or Roman Catholics are engaged in a bait-and-switch on birth control, just that some RC's don't do a good job of accurately reflecting the teaching of their church).
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« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2012, 03:48:54 PM »

No Orthodox Christian would tell you that you could be an Eastern Catholic and be Orthodox. 

It isn't an issue of Orthodox telling us we can be Orthodox by being Eastern Catholic. It's an issue, to put it in a nutshell, of being an Eastern Christian.

Basically repeating what I already said, but I likewise don't recall ever hearing 'being an Eastern Christian' held up as relevent goal/status of any kind.

Quote
P.S. Although I don't recall any Orthodox saying that Eastern Catholic are Orthodox, some Orthodox have come pretty close to saying that ...

Quote
We had an EO priest serving today whom I had not met before. Chatting during coffee, he asked where I was originally from. When I answered, he said: That is a center of Orthodoxy in America. I replied that I am a Byzantine Catholic. He said: "Oh it's the same thing."

That was recounted by dvdjs (don't know his full name) here.

Problem with dealing with second and third-hand hearsay--how are supposed to know that the priest meant "Orthodoxy and Byzantine Catholic are the same thing." or if he just meant "the center of Orthodoxy in America and the center of Byzantine Catholicism are the same thing." (the latter being a true statement).
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« Reply #13 on: June 03, 2012, 04:22:20 PM »

No Orthodox Christian would tell you that you could be an Eastern Catholic and be Orthodox. 

It isn't an issue of Orthodox telling us we can be Orthodox by being Eastern Catholic. It's an issue, to put it in a nutshell, of being an Eastern Christian.

(Note: I'm speaking largely from my own experience, but at the same time I think that many other peoples' experiences are similar to mine.) For a number of years, starting in about 2004 or so (a couple years after I started attending a Melkite parish) my focus, my goal, was to be a good Eastern Christian. But over time, I began to feel like this goal was not becoming clearer but rather more and more nebulous. Initially I hadn't seen anything suspicious about the fact that Eastern Orthodox had been encouraging me to become Eastern Catholic; but once I took a good hard look at it, it did seem quite suspicious -- particularly in view of other messages from Orthodox, e.g. the notion that Eastern Catholics can only be "true to themselves" by converting to Orthodoxy(!)

Peter, I guess that I do not understand the push to be an "Eastern Christian".  Christianity is not an East / West issue.  I really do not believe that worshiping using one rite or the other makes one any more or less a Christian.

I think I'm coming to that conclusion myself, or at least I'm leaning in that direction. But the thing is, if that's true then what is the point of talking about "the Christian East", "Byzantine Christianity", "Eastern Christianity" etc.?

Basically repeating what I already said, but I likewise don't recall ever hearing 'being an Eastern Christian' held up as relevent goal/status of any kind.

I can't deny that what you're saying offers a very simple answer to my above question to Punch; but in my experience Eastern Christian is a very relevant status.
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« Reply #14 on: June 03, 2012, 04:27:47 PM »

So I don't think you are seeing Orthodox engaging in 'bait-and-switch' in the sense that one person/source is telling you one thing when they don't actually mean it.

No argument there. In fact, I would be greatly if any of the Orthodox Christians I've been talking about were anything but sincere and well-meaning. (Which I don't think can be said of all of the Latins who originally instigated the "Unions", several centuries ago.)

P.S. Although I don't recall any Orthodox saying that Eastern Catholic are Orthodox, some Orthodox have come pretty close to saying that ...

Quote
We had an EO priest serving today whom I had not met before. Chatting during coffee, he asked where I was originally from. When I answered, he said: That is a center of Orthodoxy in America. I replied that I am a Byzantine Catholic. He said: "Oh it's the same thing."

That was recounted by dvdjs (don't know his full name) here.

Problem with dealing with second and third-hand hearsay--how are supposed to know that the priest meant "Orthodoxy and Byzantine Catholic are the same thing." or if he just meant "the center of Orthodoxy in America and the center of Byzantine Catholicism are the same thing." (the latter being a true statement).

Hmmm ... I admit I hadn't considered that possibility. But even now that you've brought it to my attention, I have to say that interpretation seems a bit of a stretch to me.
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« Reply #15 on: June 03, 2012, 05:13:15 PM »

No.
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« Reply #16 on: June 03, 2012, 05:18:36 PM »

Why do you bring threads from CAF here, Peter? I'm just curious, as it doesn't seem to be very helpful, since dvdjs isn't here to explain what was meant by that statement (though since I participated in that thread, I can't say I'm terribly sad to not have to re-argue my position here Smiley).

There is no such thing as "Orthodox in communion with Rome", and there is no such thing as "the same thing" as Orthodoxy that is somehow not Orthodoxy. What an individual priest says to someone (probably just to be polite, I would think) doesn't change those facts. In my time with the Ruthenians, I found the Eastern Catholic thing to make very little sense, as it seemed to exist in the idea (that I knew was wrong even then) that the Church's Orthodoxy may be separated from its ecclesiology. Nope. Not happenin'. It was the Easterners and Orientals who were told that they would keep their praxis in uniting with Rome, as though the Eastern Unia need only add Baba Benedictus to their diptychs and then they could go about their lives unmolested. I know that there are matters of degree (as I am told that the Melkites, for instance, are very Orthodox-like, whatever that means), but that is only in the minds of the Catholics themselves, not any Orthodox I've ever talked to. Instead, we see things like this: compared to its supposedly corresponding Orthodox liturgy, the Coptic Catholic liturgy might as well have been composed based on rumors of what Orthodox Copts do, with no real-life experience of Orthodox liturgy. This is disconcerting because, obviously, the liturgy is not something to trifled with, as it is the re-presentation of the truth of the Christian faith as it has been passed down from the apostles to our day. So it is not merely a matter of differing externals, but the encroachment of a new faith among previously Orthodox people, who have in accepting the new doctrines of their Roman masters likewise accepted a change in worship which reflects their new orientation.

By contrast, those of the "reverse uniate", as you might call it, are re-accepting the old faith, that which they had during the West's period of Orthodoxy. So there is no useful comparison to be made here, I don't think.
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« Reply #17 on: June 03, 2012, 06:06:06 PM »

Why do you bring threads from CAF here, Peter? I'm just curious, as it doesn't seem to be very helpful, since dvdjs isn't here to explain what was meant by that statement (though since I participated in that thread, I can't say I'm terribly sad to not have to re-argue my position here Smiley).

In retrospect, quoting that anecdote may not have been terribly helpful -- not for the reason you suggest (after all, it isn't a matter of what dvdjs meant, but rather of what the priest said) but because that seems to me to be a fairly rare, and fairly extreme, case. I doubt I will ever hear an Orthodox priest say that it's "the same thing". What I think is more common, and what I had in mind when I asked the original question, is just Orthodox encouragement of Eastern Catholicism and the categories Eastern Christianity and Western Christianity.

A better example I could have given, in relation to the Catholic Answers Forum, is a few years ago when the Eastern Christianity Forum was changed to the Eastern Catholicism Forum. There was a very long thread about that, which I don't want to re-read right now, but I'm pretty sure that in that thread is some Orthodox disappointment that it the new forum would not be "the Eastern Christianity Forum".
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« Reply #18 on: June 03, 2012, 06:08:41 PM »

By contrast, those of the "reverse uniate", as you might call it, are re-accepting the old faith, that which they had during the West's period of Orthodoxy. So there is no useful comparison to be made here, I don't think.

Although you didn't use the term Western Rite Orthodox, I'm fairly certain that's what your referring to here. I've heard the arguments for and against the idea that WRO is “uniatism”, but I don't really want to get into it in this thread.

But I would just like to comment on the idea of calling WRO “reverse uniatism”. As far as I can't tell, the only reason for putting the word “reverse” in there, is the idea that if Catholics do it to Orthodox it's “uniatism”, but if Orthodox do it to Catholics it's “reverse uniatism”. To me, that makes as much sense as saying that if I punched you in the nose it would be a “reverse punch”, because it would be a “punch” if you did it to me. (Which is to say, it doesn't make sense.)

But I think it's appropriate to apply the phrase “reverse uniatism” to what I describe in the OP, for the reasons in the OP.
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« Reply #19 on: June 03, 2012, 06:33:15 PM »

Most of the unions took place due to political influence and were motivated with geopolitical reasons. They were created by people in charge (bishops, kings) and without the knowledge or consent from the believers and clergy. What is more unions' author had been falsely promised that they would be allowed to keep their traditions and going under Rome would be the only one condition.

On the other hand WRO communities are formed on a parish level. People are not tempted with things like places in the Senate and they do it only for spiritual reasons. No one also lies to them about the necessary changes that they would to introduce.

The answer to the OP is 'no'.
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« Reply #20 on: June 03, 2012, 07:16:59 PM »

Most of the unions took place due to political influence and were motivated with geopolitical reasons. They were created by people in charge (bishops, kings) and without the knowledge or consent from the believers and clergy. What is more unions' author had been falsely promised that they would be allowed to keep their traditions and going under Rome would be the only one condition.

On the other hand WRO communities are formed on a parish level. People are not tempted with things like places in the Senate and they do it only for spiritual reasons. No one also lies to them about the necessary changes that they would to introduce.

The answer to the OP is 'no'.

What you're saying makes a lot of sense, but I think you misunderstood the question. I'm talking about reverse uniatism, not about Western Rite Orthodoxy or whether it constitutes uniatism.
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« Reply #21 on: June 04, 2012, 05:09:56 AM »

Peter,

I'll second dzheremi in his query

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Why do you bring threads from CAF here, Peter? I'm just curious, as it doesn't seem to be very helpful, since dvdjs isn't here to explain what was meant by that statement

I've noticed that you've done similarly at ByzCath on occasion, as well as sometimes doing likewise between here and ByzCath or vice-versa. While I'm sure that a comparison of responses among the sites might be of occasional interest, it also begs the question whether doing so is intended to be instigatory at some level. Despite the bans at CAF in times past, there are still CAF members who also post either here or at ByzCath and there is member cross-over between this forum and ByzCath. Yet, other than an occasional prayer request or news item, one rarely sees anyone else cross-posting. A curious practice, that.

Apropos the quote from dvdjs, I'm really puzzled by his statement that "We had an EO priest serving today whom I had not met before." I've known dvdjs for a long time, from CAF and earlier, as he once was a regular at ByzCath. He's a very conservative EC and tends to be of that ilk who are strongly supportive of Rome and, at best, very cautious of Orthodoxy. I'm really curious that an EO priest was 'serving' at any liturgical service that dvdjs would have attended and would like to know more of it.

As regards your own statement, I've been an Eastern Catholic for more than 40 years and count a great many Orthodox among my friends, both on-lin and in real life. Never have any of them expressed a comment anything like 'you'll-be-closer-to-us-if-you-do' in regard to Eastern Catholicism. You (and I guess, dvdjs) apparently cavort with a different breed of Orthodox.

Many years,

Neil
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« Reply #22 on: June 04, 2012, 06:13:24 AM »

And here I thought I was going to learn about some filthy, degenerate sexual perversion only the heathens practice heretofore unknown to me that I would not be allowed to engage in, unless a woman, to whom I am married, were present.

I knew I was wrong when I saw Isa's simple no.
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« Reply #23 on: June 04, 2012, 07:21:32 AM »

My dear friend and brother Neil,

I think you are and dzheremi are quite right in saying that the example I borrowed from dvdjs "doesn't seem to be very helpful". Plus, as witega pointed out, there's the question of interpreting the "Oh it's the same thing" statement. I humbly apologize to you four and everyone else, especially if I gave anyone the impression that a statement made on the Catholic Answers Forum somehow has more weight than, say, a statement made on a blog.

Best wishes to you,
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« Reply #24 on: June 04, 2012, 01:16:31 PM »

What you're saying makes a lot of sense, but I think you misunderstood the question. I'm talking about reverse uniatism, not about Western Rite Orthodoxy or whether it constitutes uniatism.

I understood your question as 'Does the Orthodox Church introduce unions with Western Church organisations similar to the unions that created Eastern Catholic Churches?'. If I am wrong what are you asking about, then?
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« Reply #25 on: June 04, 2012, 01:36:26 PM »

... I found the Eastern Catholic thing to make very little sense,...
Does the WRO make sense?
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« Reply #26 on: June 04, 2012, 01:47:02 PM »

... I found the Eastern Catholic thing to make very little sense,...
Does the WRO make sense?

Yeah, I think it does. I mean, I'm sure it's not without its problems (though I don't know first-hand, since I'm not in it), and I have read some criticisms of it from some pretty big names (e.g., Fr. Alexander Schmemann), but I think it does for the reason I originally wrote in the post you took that snippet from.
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« Reply #27 on: June 04, 2012, 03:01:42 PM »

Hi Michał. To be honest, I'm a tad surprised that you thought I was asking about WRO. Granted I did, in fact, mention the question of "whether Western-Rite Orthodoxy is “uniatism” or not" in the OP; but my intention there was to say that wasn't what I wanted to ask about. (I guess it's like one of those movie plots where the people anticipate something happening in the future, and then change their plans to avoid it but actually end up causing it, like what Galadriel said to Samwise.)

I think there may be a little bit of truth to the idea that WRO is "uniatism" (little enough that I generally don't even bring it up in my criticisms of Orthodoxy) but even then it doesn't really make sense to call it "reverse uniatism". What's "reverse" about it?
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« Reply #28 on: June 04, 2012, 03:20:49 PM »

I don't think Eastern Orthodoxy, on any official level, encourages people to become Eastern Catholics so they'll be good Eastern Christians. Eastern Christianity exists in its fullness only  in Orthodoxy.

Individual Orthodox can encourage that, I guess, but I don't see why they'd do such a thing.

Were the same Orthodox who told you to be EC the ones who told you that Eastern Catholicism is Orthodoxy-lite?

In thinking about what you said, I decided to Google "Eastern Catholics" "Orthodox Lite", resulting in several helpful results -- although not nearly as many as I would have thought (since I believe I've heard that phrase quite a lot).
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« Reply #29 on: June 04, 2012, 03:32:20 PM »

Peter J , to be frankly I have no idea what are you asking about.
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« Reply #30 on: June 04, 2012, 05:27:40 PM »

Basically repeating what I already said, but I likewise don't recall ever hearing 'being an Eastern Christian' held up as relevent goal/status of any kind.

I can't deny that what you're saying offers a very simple answer to my above question to Punch; but in my experience Eastern Christian is a very relevant status.

P.S. I put together a couple quotes to try to show why I think Eastern Christian is a relevant status (don't worry they're quotes from OCnet Wink). But since there's already a thread on terms like Eastern Christianity, I've put them there ...
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« Reply #31 on: June 04, 2012, 05:32:56 PM »

Peter J , to be frankly I have no idea what are you asking about.

Sorry to hear that. I've been trying to be clear, but perhaps I haven't been very successful.  Sad
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« Reply #32 on: June 04, 2012, 05:56:03 PM »

No Orthodox Christian would tell you that you could be an Eastern Catholic and be Orthodox. 

It isn't an issue of Orthodox telling us we can be Orthodox by being Eastern Catholic. It's an issue, to put it in a nutshell, of being an Eastern Christian.

(Note: I'm speaking largely from my own experience, but at the same time I think that many other peoples' experiences are similar to mine.) For a number of years, starting in about 2004 or so (a couple years after I started attending a Melkite parish) my focus, my goal, was to be a good Eastern Christian. But over time, I began to feel like this goal was not becoming clearer but rather more and more nebulous. Initially I hadn't seen anything suspicious about the fact that Eastern Orthodox had been encouraging me to become Eastern Catholic; but once I took a good hard look at it, it did seem quite suspicious -- particularly in view of other messages from Orthodox, e.g. the notion that Eastern Catholics can only be "true to themselves" by converting to Orthodoxy(!)

Basically repeating what I already said, but I likewise don't recall ever hearing 'being an Eastern Christian' held up as relevent goal/status of any kind.

P.P.S. One other thing I feel I should add here: I may have come across as unwilling to take responsibility for my past decisions. I didn't mean to sound that way. Certainly, no Orthodox told me to make “being a good Eastern Christian” my goal and focus; that was my decision.
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« Reply #33 on: June 04, 2012, 10:17:16 PM »



Apropos the quote from dvdjs, I'm really puzzled by his statement that "We had an EO priest serving today whom I had not met before." I've known dvdjs for a long time, from CAF and earlier, as he once was a regular at ByzCath. He's a very conservative EC and tends to be of that ilk who are strongly supportive of Rome and, at best, very cautious of Orthodoxy. I'm really curious that an EO priest was 'serving' at any liturgical service that dvdjs would have attended and would like to know more of it.

dvdjs attends an OCA parish as it is the only Eastern parish close to him.
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« Reply #34 on: June 04, 2012, 10:19:58 PM »

Do we really need to gossip about a guy from another forum?
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« Reply #35 on: June 04, 2012, 10:26:42 PM »

Dear forum members,

We've had a few debates, and will probably have a few more in the future, about whether Western-Rite Orthodoxy is “uniatism” or not. That is not, however, what I want to discuss on this thread (although I'm not opposed to talking about it on another thread, if someone wants to start one for that purpose).

What I actually want to ask here is, do Orthodox engage in a bait-and-switch tactic that could be described as “reverse uniatism”?

From my experience, it seems like the answer is Yes. Without making you listen to my whole life story, the basic message that I have heard over-and-over from Orthodox is (paraphrasing of course) “If you won't leave Catholicism, you can at least be one of us Eastern Christians by joining one of the Eastern Catholic Churches.”

But, with time and digging-a-little-deeper, I have found that beneath the surface is another message (the “switch” part of bait-and-switch) that being Eastern Catholic really doesn't cut it after all, that being Eastern Catholic is only a “band-aid”, or even that Eastern Catholics can only be true-to-themselves by converting to Orthodoxy.

I appreciate anyone's thoughts on this. Sincerely,

Back on topic.

An Eastern Catholic Bishop once made the comment that the Melkite Eastern Catholic Church is like a bridge to Orthodoxy.

Disgruntled Roman Catholics who have had it with all the liturgical changes have been fleeing first to the Melkite Eastern Catholic Church, where they get catechized with material from St. Vladimir Seminary or Life and Light Publishing, and then they switch to the Eastern Orthodox Church ... going to either Antiochian, Greek, or OCA parishes.

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« Reply #36 on: June 04, 2012, 10:36:13 PM »

Why do you bring threads from CAF here, Peter? I'm just curious, as it doesn't seem to be very helpful, since dvdjs isn't here to explain what was meant by that statement (though since I participated in that thread, I can't say I'm terribly sad to not have to re-argue my position here Smiley).

There is no such thing as "Orthodox in communion with Rome", and there is no such thing as "the same thing" as Orthodoxy that is somehow not Orthodoxy. What an individual priest says to someone (probably just to be polite, I would think) doesn't change those facts. In my time with the Ruthenians, I found the Eastern Catholic thing to make very little sense, as it seemed to exist in the idea (that I knew was wrong even then) that the Church's Orthodoxy may be separated from its ecclesiology. Nope. Not happenin'. It was the Easterners and Orientals who were told that they would keep their praxis in uniting with Rome, as though the Eastern Unia need only add Baba Benedictus to their diptychs and then they could go about their lives unmolested. I know that there are matters of degree (as I am told that the Melkites, for instance, are very Orthodox-like, whatever that means), but that is only in the minds of the Catholics themselves, not any Orthodox I've ever talked to. Instead, we see things like this: compared to its supposedly corresponding Orthodox liturgy, the Coptic Catholic liturgy might as well have been composed based on rumors of what Orthodox Copts do, with no real-life experience of Orthodox liturgy. This is disconcerting because, obviously, the liturgy is not something to trifled with, as it is the re-presentation of the truth of the Christian faith as it has been passed down from the apostles to our day. So it is not merely a matter of differing externals, but the encroachment of a new faith among previously Orthodox people, who have in accepting the new doctrines of their Roman masters likewise accepted a change in worship which reflects their new orientation.

By contrast, those of the "reverse uniate", as you might call it, are re-accepting the old faith, that which they had during the West's period of Orthodoxy. So there is no useful comparison to be made here, I don't think.

While not denying latinizations, new and old, have taken place in Eastern Catholic Churches (in some more than others) the Coptic Catholic Liturgy is taking place in a Maronite Church that accounts for a lot of the visual difference.  I have seen the videos from the Coptic Catholic parish in LA and it looks the same as a Coptic Orthodox Liturgy
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« Reply #37 on: June 05, 2012, 12:32:26 AM »

Yeah, certainly a lot of it is. The weird Maronite-esque chant from the guy at the beginning and during communion, for instance. Sadly, what I've seen of the much less debased mass of the Franciscans in Egypt, while being much less obviously offensive (I chose the particular video I did on purpose to show the extreme to which the idea behind the Eastern or Oriental Unia does not work, not because everywhere is just as bad as Lebanon; God forbid) was not really any better, unless you take "better" in this case to mean "they used the cymbals a bit more" (which, yes, to my ears does sound better, but I digress... Grin). The celebrant still faced the people, they still used unleavened bread, etc. By all the evidence that I have seen (videos from Lebanon, Egypt, and Italy), communion is by intinction, which is also not Coptic Orthodox practice. I am curious as to how the Coptic Catholics might preserve the fraction prayers (if they do; I don't remember them in either of the longer videos I've seen) that are common to the Orthodox from whom they came, if it is common to use unleavened bread. Such bread can't really be divided as you would leavened bread.

Anyway, the point is not to pick on the Coptic Catholics in particular (Lord knows they don't need more trouble), but to point out - in connection with my earlier post - that the Orthodoxy of the church is inseparable from its ecclesiology. The only reason the Catholic Unia have any of these distinctives that aren't shared with the churches that they left is that these are the "Catholic" practices. So in a way, it is right that they should have them...but in another way, it really kind of shoots the whole "Orthodox in union with Rome" thing in the foot, as well as the "same thing" idea or "closer to us" idea, since of course it also isn't only about externals, but the theological reasons why we've developed as we have. Anything inherited from post-Orthodox Rome makes the resulting churches, even if they're 99.9% the same, not Orthodox. It's not really a matter of degree, as far as I can tell from talking to OO and EO of many different stripes. You either are or you aren't, and for every Orthodox person I've ever known, Eastern Catholics are in the "are not" category not any less than their Latin counterparts.
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« Reply #38 on: June 05, 2012, 08:01:12 AM »

^^ But in my experience Orthodox often say it a little bit differently. I've witnessed or been involved in a great many conversations in which a Catholic says that he/she is "Orthodox in communion with Rome", and then an Orthodox says "No, because you're not fully Eastern" (emphasis added) or words to that effect.
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« Reply #39 on: June 05, 2012, 09:22:58 AM »

Dear forum members,

We've had a few debates, and will probably have a few more in the future, about whether Western-Rite Orthodoxy is “uniatism” or not. That is not, however, what I want to discuss on this thread (although I'm not opposed to talking about it on another thread, if someone wants to start one for that purpose).

What I actually want to ask here is, do Orthodox engage in a bait-and-switch tactic that could be described as “reverse uniatism”?

From my experience, it seems like the answer is Yes. Without making you listen to my whole life story, the basic message that I have heard over-and-over from Orthodox is (paraphrasing of course) “If you won't leave Catholicism, you can at least be one of us Eastern Christians by joining one of the Eastern Catholic Churches.”

But, with time and digging-a-little-deeper, I have found that beneath the surface is another message (the “switch” part of bait-and-switch) that being Eastern Catholic really doesn't cut it after all, that being Eastern Catholic is only a “band-aid”, or even that Eastern Catholics can only be true-to-themselves by converting to Orthodoxy.

I appreciate anyone's thoughts on this. Sincerely,

Back on topic.

An Eastern Catholic Bishop once made the comment that the Melkite Eastern Catholic Church is like a bridge to Orthodoxy.

Disgruntled Roman Catholics who have had it with all the liturgical changes have been fleeing first to the Melkite Eastern Catholic Church, where they get catechized with material from St. Vladimir Seminary or Life and Light Publishing, and then they switch to the Eastern Orthodox Church ... going to either Antiochian, Greek, or OCA parishes.

Yes, that makes sense. In fact, I believe one of the standards arguments against the idea that WRO is "uniatism" (or "reverse uniatism") is that it isn't a "bridge". (Quoting from The Western Rite is Not "Reverse Uniatism",

Quote
At our most hopeful, Western Orthodox dream of whole denominations accepting the Orthodox faith in either of our Eastern or approved Western rites. We pray for it. Yet we do not see ourselves as a "bridge" to the Papacy.
) On the other hand, it seems to me the Eastern Catholic Churches are a bridge from Orthodoxy to Catholicism and a bridge from Catholicism to Orthodoxy (even though originally it was pretty much a one-way bridge) -- which is to say, nowadays Eastern Catholic Churches are subject to both "uniatism" and "reverse uniatism".
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« Reply #40 on: June 05, 2012, 11:45:40 AM »

Im a little late coming to this party, but I'd like to give my opinion since I happen to be a WR Orthodox.

I personally dont feel that WR is ***the U word**** in reverse, as Met. Ware stated once. We dont have separate bishops, a separate law, and separate beliefs. I am 100% Orthodox in every way except that it is in the pre-schism western tradition. Things like the fast and certian feasts are different to be honest, also the liturgy. However, these things are documented to have occured in the west.


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« Reply #41 on: June 05, 2012, 01:25:30 PM »

^^ But in my experience Orthodox often say it a little bit differently. I've witnessed or been involved in a great many conversations in which a Catholic says that he/she is "Orthodox in communion with Rome", and then an Orthodox says "No, because you're not fully Eastern" (emphasis added) or words to that effect.

So? As others in this thread have told you explicitly, "Eastern" isn't a goal in and of itself. The point in saying that the Eastern Catholics are not fully Eastern and thus it is not possible to be "Orthodox in Union with Rome" is that they cannot fully express Orthodox theology and ecclesiology due to their acceptance of Western theological speculation as dogma, in accordance with the Western way of doing theology, and the various Papal heresies. So in trying to be both "Eastern" and "Catholic", their "Easternness" is compromised by their "Catholicness". You can't simply extract the Eastern part and hold that up as evidence that it is possible to be both, because the very union degrades and distorts what it means. So, yes, I suppose they aren't fully "Eastern" (sorry for all the scare quotes, but I feel dumb using this terminology when I'm not in the EO church from which most of the Unia came from), but this isn't because it is a matter of degree -- it's a matter of Eastern Catholics accepting things that the Orthodox themselves do not accept. Not being fully Eastern is a way of essentially saying "You look like us, but you're not actually like us", not "You're closer to us than others are, just not quite there."
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« Reply #42 on: June 05, 2012, 01:35:38 PM »

Quote
The point in saying that the Eastern Catholics are not fully Eastern and thus it is not possible to be "Orthodox in Union with Rome" is that they cannot fully express Orthodox theology and ecclesiology due to their acceptance of Western theological speculation as dogma, in accordance with the Western way of doing theology, and the various Papal heresies
Something Western Riters can say. I am of the same faith as my Eastern Rite bretheren in every way. I dont try to say, "Roman Catholic in communion with Pat. Ignatius" or some other stuff like that. You cant be Orthodox in communion with Rome, because at this juncutre, being in communion with Rome automatically makes you non-Orthodox (or orthodox Wink )

Quote
You're closer to us than others are, just not quite there
Good way to say it.

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« Reply #43 on: June 05, 2012, 01:47:14 PM »

I don't think I really want to argue with you, dzheremi. Personally, I think it's problematic when Orthodox say that the reason Eastern Catholics aren't Orthodox is because they "aren't fully Eastern". If you think it is fine, then that is your right.
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« Reply #44 on: June 05, 2012, 01:51:53 PM »

Quote
The point in saying that the Eastern Catholics are not fully Eastern and thus it is not possible to be "Orthodox in Union with Rome" is that they cannot fully express Orthodox theology and ecclesiology due to their acceptance of Western theological speculation as dogma, in accordance with the Western way of doing theology, and the various Papal heresies
Something Western Riters can say. I am of the same faith as my Eastern Rite bretheren in every way. I dont try to say, "Roman Catholic in communion with Pat. Ignatius" or some other stuff like that. You cant be Orthodox in communion with Rome, because at this juncutre, being in communion with Rome automatically makes you non-Orthodox (or orthodox Wink )



Fixed that for you.   Grin
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