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Author Topic: Why do scholarly converts never hear about Orthodoxy?  (Read 4059 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: April 12, 2013, 07:33:48 PM »

I listen to "The Journey Home" on EWTN. It's a wonderful program hosted by Marcus Grodi where he interviews converts to Catholicism. The spectrum of guests ranges from reverts to fundamentalist evangelicals to even people like me who were outside of Christianity.

One thing that always bothers me is that when someone (usually from a protestant background) describes their first experience reading the Early Church Fathers, they always come to the conclusion, "There is absolutely no other 'church' that can make the apostolic claims that Rome can."

Now, I can't expect everyone to make the same conclusion that I did: that the Orthodox Church is in fact, the early apostolic church about which the Fathers wrote. But it seems to me like most of these people don't even hear about the Orthodox Church; in other words, upon learning what the early Church was like, they immediately equate that with Rome.

It's true that many Christians in non-Orthodox countries have not heard (or have heard and forgotten) about the Orthodox Church. But some of the people on "The Journey Home" are particularly learned—people like Dr. Scott Hahn (I haven't ever heard him mention the Orthodox Church on the radio, but I admittedly haven't read his books). These sorts of people came from scholarly backgrounds and became Catholic through a period of in-depth study, and yet it seems like they never even got a chance to know that the Orthodox Church was a (imho: THE laugh ) possibility on their journey.

I don't want to speculate too much, but these are my theories:

- These people had no exposure to Orthodoxy before, and instead saw the world as Catholic/Protestant, so when they read about an early church that resembled Catholicism, they naturally assumed it was Catholic Church.
- Some popular anthologies of the Early Church Fathers are compiled by Roman Catholics, who would not want to draw their attention to the schism and so do not mention, explicitly, the present Orthodox Church. Thus, people who read these books might only hear about the Roman Church during their studies.
- Perhaps some people know about the Orthodox Church but regard her as the unpleasant half-sister, who they would rather forget about than have to explain to people (I would hope this is not the case)

Can anyone shine so light on this for me? Essentially, I'd like to know why so many bright people who converted to Catholicism through a "rigorous" study of history never seem to know about or mention the Roman Catholic church.

EDIT: I want to be clear that I don't doubt the sincerity of anyone's personal journey and I know that each person has their own reason for "choosing" where they go. I guess I'm just curious if there's something substantive that can explain this trend that I've observed, based on an admittedly small sampling of people.
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« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2013, 07:39:03 PM »

I think because they mostly just view Orthodoxy as ethnic Catholicism without a Pope.
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« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2013, 07:41:12 PM »

I think because they mostly just view Orthodoxy as ethnic Catholicism without a Pope.

Meaning they don't think there's a substantial difference between the two, and so just go with the one that's less "foreign"?

I'm asking you to elaborate your theory, not necessarily agreeing with it.
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« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2013, 08:08:39 PM »

I think because they mostly just view Orthodoxy as ethnic Catholicism without a Pope.

Meaning they don't think there's a substantial difference between the two, and so just go with the one that's less "foreign"?

I'm asking you to elaborate your theory, not necessarily agreeing with it.

Pretty much. Most people I've seen--if they even know what Orthodoxy is--view it as a form of ethnic Catholicism that was just separated from the Pope due to geography. Plus, the Roman Catholic Church's extremely ecumenical view of the Eastern Orthodox could further contribute to this notion that many Protestant converts have--who don't really see a difference between the two. Thus, they go Roman Catholicism simply because it's MUCH more common.
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« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2013, 08:57:26 PM »

I think James makes a couple of really good points here.

I will add though, in response to the OP, that at least in our Church and on here I would say there are a fair number of scholarly types who find Orthodoxy. Of course your not going to hear their stories on EWTN.
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« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2013, 10:31:35 PM »

I listen to "The Journey Home" on EWTN. It's a wonderful program hosted by Marcus Grodi where he interviews converts to Catholicism. The spectrum of guests ranges from reverts to fundamentalist evangelicals to even people like me who were outside of Christianity.

One thing that always bothers me is that when someone (usually from a protestant background) describes their first experience reading the Early Church Fathers, they always come to the conclusion, "There is absolutely no other 'church' that can make the apostolic claims that Rome can."

Now, I can't expect everyone to make the same conclusion that I did: that the Orthodox Church is in fact, the early apostolic church about which the Fathers wrote. But it seems to me like most of these people don't even hear about the Orthodox Church; in other words, upon learning what the early Church was like, they immediately equate that with Rome.

It's true that many Christians in non-Orthodox countries have not heard (or have heard and forgotten) about the Orthodox Church. But some of the people on "The Journey Home" are particularly learned—people like Dr. Scott Hahn (I haven't ever heard him mention the Orthodox Church on the radio, but I admittedly haven't read his books). These sorts of people came from scholarly backgrounds and became Catholic through a period of in-depth study, and yet it seems like they never even got a chance to know that the Orthodox Church was a (imho: THE laugh ) possibility on their journey.

I don't want to speculate too much, but these are my theories:

- These people had no exposure to Orthodoxy before, and instead saw the world as Catholic/Protestant, so when they read about an early church that resembled Catholicism, they naturally assumed it was Catholic Church.
- Some popular anthologies of the Early Church Fathers are compiled by Roman Catholics, who would not want to draw their attention to the schism and so do not mention, explicitly, the present Orthodox Church. Thus, people who read these books might only hear about the Roman Church during their studies.
- Perhaps some people know about the Orthodox Church but regard her as the unpleasant half-sister, who they would rather forget about than have to explain to people (I would hope this is not the case)
There's another possibility and it is more than theory (as I've seen cases): some are aware of Orthodoxy but shy aware from it, because they cannot explain it away so better to pass over it in silence so it goes away (often this is helped with the idea that its the same as the Vatican, just without the magisterium).  Often this is the route by people put off by the Eastern thing or are alienated by the ethnicity.
Can anyone shine so light on this for me? Essentially, I'd like to know why so many bright people who converted to Catholicism through a "rigorous" study of history never seem to know about or mention the Roman Catholic church.

EDIT: I want to be clear that I don't doubt the sincerity of anyone's personal journey and I know that each person has their own reason for "choosing" where they go. I guess I'm just curious if there's something substantive that can explain this trend that I've observed, based on an admittedly small sampling of people.
I'm not sure Jimmy Atkin fits the bill of "scholarly convert," but he was aware (if not well informed) about Orthodoxy, as he wrote why he didn't convert to it
http://archive.catholic.com/thisrock/2005/0504bt.asp

Btw, he mentions up front two very scholarly converts: Bishop Kallistos Ware and Jaroslav Pelikan of blessed memory.  The latter really shook the Lutherans when he left, being one of their major theologians/historians.

A response (but not a terribly good one) to Atkins contentions:
http://www.orthodoxanswers.org/catholicorthodoxdebate1

Btw, the first convert in North America was a scholarly convert-Philip Ludwell III of colonial Virginia, who embraced Orthodoxy in the Russian embassy in London in 1736, translating the DL of St. John Chrysostom (perhaps the first translation into English) and authorized by the Holy Governing Synod of Russia to translate the Orthodox catechism into English (published after his death in London).
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« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2013, 11:05:34 PM »

What I meant was "Why do scholarly Catholic converts never hear about Orthodoxy?"

I have no doubts that there are many well-read Orthodox converts.
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« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2013, 11:36:30 PM »

Western theology, however, has differentiated itself from Eastern Orthodox theology. Instead of being therapeutic, it is more intellectual and emotional in character. In the West [after the Carolingian "Renaissance"], scholastic theology evolved, which is antithetical to the Orthodox Tradition. Western theology is based on rational thought whereas Orthodoxy is hesychastic. Scholastic theology tried to understand logically the Revelation of God and conform to philosophical methodology

 Consequently, Scholastics, who are occupied with reason, consider themselves superior to the Holy Fathers of the Church. They also believe that human knowledge, an offspring of reason, is loftier than Revelation and experience.

Protestants do not have a "therapeutic treatment" tradition. They suppose that believing in God, intellectually, constitutes salvation. Yet salvation is not a matter of intellectual acceptance of truth; rather it is a person's transformation and divinisation by grace.

ince Orthodox spirituality differs distinctly from the "spiritualities" of other confessions, so much the more does it differ from the "spirituality" of eastern religions, which do not believe in the Theanthropic nature of Christ and the Holy Spirit. They are influenced by the philosophical dialectic, which has been surpassed by the Revelation of God. These traditions are unaware of the notion of personhood and thus the hypostatic principle.
source: http://orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/hierotheos_difference.aspx


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« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2013, 11:49:49 PM »

Western theology, however, has differentiated itself from Eastern Orthodox theology. Instead of being therapeutic, it is more intellectual and emotional in character. In the West [after the Carolingian "Renaissance"], scholastic theology evolved, which is antithetical to the Orthodox Tradition. Western theology is based on rational thought whereas Orthodoxy is hesychastic. Scholastic theology tried to understand logically the Revelation of God and conform to philosophical methodology

 Consequently, Scholastics, who are occupied with reason, consider themselves superior to the Holy Fathers of the Church. They also believe that human knowledge, an offspring of reason, is loftier than Revelation and experience.

Protestants do not have a "therapeutic treatment" tradition. They suppose that believing in God, intellectually, constitutes salvation. Yet salvation is not a matter of intellectual acceptance of truth; rather it is a person's transformation and divinisation by grace.

ince Orthodox spirituality differs distinctly from the "spiritualities" of other confessions, so much the more does it differ from the "spirituality" of eastern religions, which do not believe in the Theanthropic nature of Christ and the Holy Spirit. They are influenced by the philosophical dialectic, which has been surpassed by the Revelation of God. These traditions are unaware of the notion of personhood and thus the hypostatic principle.
source: http://orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/hierotheos_difference.aspx


A bit off topic, but where the author starts talking about eastern religions they fall into the common (and frankly ridiculous) pitfall of assuming Buddhism represents all eastern religions. Most actually do believe in the personhood of God and were talking about it before anyone in the west was (God is adi-purusham, the original person, in Indian religions).
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« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2013, 01:28:11 AM »

Most actually do believe in the personhood of God and were talking about it before anyone in the west was (God is adi-purusham, the original person, in Indian religions).
Mycenaean/Minoan Greece, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Armenia, Persia, etc. not being "the west", I assume.
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« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2013, 02:16:08 AM »

Western theology, however, has differentiated itself from Eastern Orthodox theology. Instead of being therapeutic, it is more intellectual and emotional in character. In the West [after the Carolingian "Renaissance"], scholastic theology evolved, which is antithetical to the Orthodox Tradition. Western theology is based on rational thought whereas Orthodoxy is hesychastic. Scholastic theology tried to understand logically the Revelation of God and conform to philosophical methodology

 Consequently, Scholastics, who are occupied with reason, consider themselves superior to the Holy Fathers of the Church. They also believe that human knowledge, an offspring of reason, is loftier than Revelation and experience.

Protestants do not have a "therapeutic treatment" tradition. They suppose that believing in God, intellectually, constitutes salvation. Yet salvation is not a matter of intellectual acceptance of truth; rather it is a person's transformation and divinisation by grace.

ince Orthodox spirituality differs distinctly from the "spiritualities" of other confessions, so much the more does it differ from the "spirituality" of eastern religions, which do not believe in the Theanthropic nature of Christ and the Holy Spirit. They are influenced by the philosophical dialectic, which has been surpassed by the Revelation of God. These traditions are unaware of the notion of personhood and thus the hypostatic principle.
source: http://orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/hierotheos_difference.aspx




I'm sorry but there is hardly a single sentence which is correct. Have you ever read any Western dogmatics or mystics themselves instead of EO interpretation of them?
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« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2013, 03:22:05 AM »

Maybe because Orthodoxy is just far too different for most western Christians to accept or think much of. Different liturgy in different languages with practices they are not very familiar with. Im still learning it all myself.
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« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2013, 03:22:54 AM »

Most actually do believe in the personhood of God and were talking about it before anyone in the west was (God is adi-purusham, the original person, in Indian religions).
Mycenaean/Minoan Greece, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Armenia, Persia, etc. not being "the west", I assume.
Could be wrong but I am pretty sure there is nothing from those talking about the personhood of God in any explicit manner. They talked about God/s, they didn't make any big deal about the personhood of God which really only Christianity and Indian religions do.
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« Reply #13 on: April 13, 2013, 03:56:26 AM »

Could be wrong but I am pretty sure there is nothing from those talking about the personhood of God in any explicit manner. They talked about God/s, they didn't make any big deal about the personhood of God which really only Christianity and Indian religions do.
What would "talking about the personhood of God" entail? using words loosely translatable as "personhood"? What sort of insights are we talking here?
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« Reply #14 on: April 13, 2013, 06:59:52 AM »

I think I read somewhere that Dr Scott Hahn did look into Orthodoxy, but found it to lack the unity he found in Rome. I don't know about any of the other guests, but from the few times I've seen the show, it's more focused on the guest's previous denomination, their destination (Rome), and reasons for moving from the former to the latter, which doesn't leave much room to talk about Orthodoxy, unless it's where the guest is coming from.
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« Reply #15 on: April 13, 2013, 03:25:31 PM »

There is another possibility: Maybe some of these scholars did look into both and were legitimately convinced that the RCC has a better claim to truth. Dr. Richard Sherlock was the most recent guest on the "Journey Home." I personally know the man and I know that he considered Roman Catholicism, Orthodoxy, and Anglicanism, finally concluding that Roman Catholicism is true. I also had a professor that was an atheist convert to Christianity. He first went to an Anglican church, then attended a Greek Orthodox parish before deciding Roman Catholicism is true. I am not here to argue that the RCC is indeed more true, but I have noticed that there is enough ambiguity and nuance to the historical record that one could reasonably side with either the RCC or EOC. For instance, I have been reading and praying everyday for years and I am still torn between the two. The path isn't as clear and obvious as some like to think.
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« Reply #16 on: April 13, 2013, 03:39:30 PM »

The scholarly converts who heard about the Orthodox Church never became Roman Catholic to begin with.
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« Reply #17 on: April 13, 2013, 04:02:58 PM »

Good incites all. Again, my question is why converts to the Roman Catholic Church who come from scholarly backgrounds and did a lot of studying during their conversion never seem to mention the Orthodox Church. My question arose from hearing a guest on "The Journey Home" discuss how she read the Early Church fathers and came to the conclusion that there were absolutely no other churches in history that could make apostolic claims.
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« Reply #18 on: April 13, 2013, 05:27:03 PM »

Good incites all. Again, my question is why converts to the Roman Catholic Church who come from scholarly backgrounds and did a lot of studying during their conversion never seem to mention the Orthodox Church. My question arose from hearing a guest on "The Journey Home" discuss how she read the Early Church fathers and came to the conclusion that there were absolutely no other churches in history that could make apostolic claims.

I believe that a number of good guesses have been offered.  Off the top of my head, the following come to mind:

1) Compared to Roman Catholicism in the U.S. the Orthodox Church is tiny.  It simply lacks visibility, and unless one lives in a metropolitan area, a person could go his whole life without ever meeting an Orthodox believer or having an opportunity to visit an Orthodox congregation.

2) Ethnic Orthodoxy is a real turn-off for most Americans.  They don't want to belong to a "Greek" or whatever church.  They want to belong to an English-speaking "American" church.  The Catholic Church in America over the past forty years has lost much of its ethnic identity and is therefore more hospitable to potential converts.

3) Protestants and Catholics speak a common language, at least up to a point.  Assume, for example, that our scholarly convert really is concerned about justification by faith.  The contemporary Catholic Church can effectively address this issue in terms with which the Protestant is familiar.  See, e.g., the Lutheran/Catholic Joint Declaration on Justification.  But ask an Orthodox about justification and you will get a stare and a shrug.  The same holds true on many issues.  The Catholic Catechism is quite accessible to informed Protestants.  Moreover, Catholic theologians are much more conversant with Protestant theology than Orthodox theologians are. 

4) The strong anti-Western, anti-ecumenical, ghetto attitude displayed by some Orthodox, particularly on the internet, can be quite offensive.  I certainly find it offensive.  But not only is it offensive, it's displays a closed-minded mindset that may well drive the scholarly Protestant in a Catholic direction.  All it takes is to come across one or two articles by Fr John Romanides or Met Hierotheos to convince a person that Orthodoxy is a fundamentalist sect.   

5)  Given that we are talking about scholarly Protestants, they will find a lot more--a heck of a lot more--Catholic scholars speaking and writing on various theological, ethical, and social topics than they will find Orthodox scholars.  I can probably count on one hand the English-speaking Orthodox scholars and theologians whom I respect and enjoy reading.     

6) The Catholic Mass, as abysmal as it is today in most parishes, is more congenial to Protestant converts.  This would not have been true a hundred years ago, but it's true today.  The Novus Ordo Mass is just easier to learn and get comfortable with than the Byzantine Liturgy.  Plus, some Protestant converts actually like the Marty Haugen songs that are played in Catholic churches.

     
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« Reply #19 on: April 13, 2013, 07:51:13 PM »

 All it takes is to come across one or two articles by Fr John Romanides or Met Hierotheos to convince a person that Orthodoxy is a fundamentalist sect.      
Now that's odd, I always thought such texts bore witness of our Orthodox belief in a loving God...
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« Reply #20 on: April 13, 2013, 08:59:02 PM »

 All it takes is to come across one or two articles by Fr John Romanides or Met Hierotheos to convince a person that Orthodoxy is a fundamentalist sect.      
Now that's odd, I always thought such texts bore witness of our Orthodox belief in a loving God...

Fr. John Romanides is basically a crank when he talks about the Franks, the West, Orthodoxy as psychotherapy, and all the other bizarre pet theories he advances. He may have been very learned but his talk about spinal fluid, blood flow, etc. is insane. Met. Hierotheos has some very worthwhile writings but his work his marred insofar as he relies on Fr. John. People should spend more time actually reading the Fathers these men draw on rather than just regurgitating  distorted versions of Orthodoxy promulgated by modern theologians.
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« Reply #21 on: April 13, 2013, 09:06:44 PM »

Western theology, however, has differentiated itself from Eastern Orthodox theology. Instead of being therapeutic, it is more intellectual and emotional in character. In the West [after the Carolingian "Renaissance"], scholastic theology evolved, which is antithetical to the Orthodox Tradition. Western theology is based on rational thought whereas Orthodoxy is hesychastic. Scholastic theology tried to understand logically the Revelation of God and conform to philosophical methodology

 Consequently, Scholastics, who are occupied with reason, consider themselves superior to the Holy Fathers of the Church. They also believe that human knowledge, an offspring of reason, is loftier than Revelation and experience.

Protestants do not have a "therapeutic treatment" tradition. They suppose that believing in God, intellectually, constitutes salvation. Yet salvation is not a matter of intellectual acceptance of truth; rather it is a person's transformation and divinisation by grace.

ince Orthodox spirituality differs distinctly from the "spiritualities" of other confessions, so much the more does it differ from the "spirituality" of eastern religions, which do not believe in the Theanthropic nature of Christ and the Holy Spirit. They are influenced by the philosophical dialectic, which has been surpassed by the Revelation of God. These traditions are unaware of the notion of personhood and thus the hypostatic principle.
source: http://orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/hierotheos_difference.aspx

All of this is rubbish. Put away the websites and pop-Orthodox articles and actually take the time to read the Fathers, East and West. The Church-as-hospital metaphor is useful and true so far as it goes; in the hands of Fr. John Romanides it becomes completely distorted into pseudoscience. It is not a legitimate distinction between East and West; there are enough real differences between Orthodoxy and Catholicism without having to invent more.

If I were a scholarly Catholic looking at Orthodoxy, I know I would be immediately put off by the legions of Orthodox prattlers who think they're experts on St. Augustine or Scholasticism because of some articles they read online by Met. Hierotheos. Being actually familiar with the sources they haven't bothered to read, I would immediately recognize they were full of it and be quite comfortable moving on.
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« Reply #22 on: April 14, 2013, 12:01:29 AM »

I think that there is less conversion to Orthodoxy in the Western world because Orthodoxy is a minority religion in Western societies. But even with that minority status one does occasionally see conversions to Eastern Orthodoxy, e.g., Hieromonk Gabriel Bunge, who was a Roman Catholic hermit until he converted to Russian Orthodoxy about three years ago.

Click here to read an interview with Hieromonk Gabriel
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« Reply #23 on: April 14, 2013, 12:16:41 AM »

If I were a scholarly Catholic looking at Orthodoxy, I know I would be immediately put off by the legions of Orthodox prattlers who think they're experts on St. Augustine or Scholasticism because of some articles they read online by Met. Hierotheos. Being actually familiar with the sources they haven't bothered to read, I would immediately recognize they were full of it and be quite comfortable moving on.
As an Eastern Catholic I find it off putting when I read Western sources that evince complete ignorance of Eastern authors too. But that kind of ignorance can be found easily anywhere. For me reading the writings of St. Gregory Palamas was eye opening, and it helped me to understand theology in a completely different way. It even helped me see the writings of the ancient Fathers differently. That said, I would never become Catholic or Orthodox, or refuse to become Catholic or Orthodox, because of a few prattlers on either side. The only reason to convert from one religion to another is because you believe that God has personally called upon you to do so.
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« Reply #24 on: April 14, 2013, 12:25:21 AM »

Western theology is based on rational thought whereas Orthodoxy is hesychastic.

I am confused by this statement. Orthodoxy is rational. Orthodoxy did not start in the 14th century. Are you just trying to say that Hesychasm is compatible with Orthodoxy?
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« Reply #25 on: April 14, 2013, 12:44:15 AM »

This is MY experience only, so I am not pushing it off as a universal theory.  From what I have seen in my life, Greeks tend to be on a higher social scale here in the Midwest.  I never even heard of Russian Orthodox until I was already Orthodox (Antiochian).  The "learned ones" probably do not see Greek Orthodoxy as any different than and ethnic Roman Catholicism, particularly with the ethnicity of many (or most) Greek parishes.  Personally, if it were not for may bias against the RC Church from my Lutheran upbringing, I would probably be Roman Catholic since I really don't see that much difference between them and the Greeks, and it seems like the EP would become Roman in a New York Second if they let him be in charge.  Now Russian Orthodoxy is far more "otherworldly".  But in the places where I have lived, they either do not exist, or they are very poor.  Not the kind of Churches that "scholars" that I have known are attending.
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« Reply #26 on: April 14, 2013, 01:45:56 AM »

Opus , Iconodule and Alpo...those are not my words nor did I anywhere say to agree nor to disagree with the article. The only reason I chose it is to include different outlook on this issue and stimulate a more active discussion. I am yet to say what I think abou the topic.
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« Reply #27 on: April 14, 2013, 01:51:58 AM »

Could someone provide a list of 10 to 20intelectual inthe West who converted to Orthodoxy not through marriage or because of their heritage. List can be bigger if possible and could include deceased individuals. Their reasons for converting might shed some more light on this.
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« Reply #28 on: April 14, 2013, 06:39:38 PM »

All of this is rubbish. Put away the websites and pop-Orthodox articles and actually take the time to read the Fathers, East and West. The Church-as-hospital metaphor is useful and true so far as it goes; in the hands of Fr. John Romanides it becomes completely distorted into pseudoscience. It is not a legitimate distinction between East and West; there are enough real differences between Orthodoxy and Catholicism without having to invent more.

You are using hard words against two highly respected Orthodox theologians of our time. Care to elaborate?
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« Reply #29 on: April 15, 2013, 12:03:59 AM »

I think I read somewhere that Dr Scott Hahn did look into Orthodoxy, but found it to lack the unity he found in Rome.

Clark Carlton addresses this particular case in his book "The Truth," in the chapter "A Note for Evangelicals Considering Rome" which you can read online here.
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« Reply #30 on: April 15, 2013, 12:24:23 AM »

Could someone provide a list of 10 to 20intelectual inthe West who converted to Orthodoxy not through marriage or because of their heritage. List can be bigger if possible and could include deceased individuals. Their reasons for converting might shed some more light on this.

What criteria defines "intellectual"?

1. Jaroslav Pelikan.
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« Reply #31 on: April 15, 2013, 06:39:37 AM »

Could someone provide a list of 10 to 20intelectual inthe West who converted to Orthodoxy not through marriage or because of their heritage. List can be bigger if possible and could include deceased individuals. Their reasons for converting might shed some more light on this.

What criteria defines "intellectual"?

1. Jaroslav Pelikan.

2. ialmisry

3. Napoletani
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« Reply #32 on: April 15, 2013, 07:26:27 AM »

1 Corinthians 1:18-31
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« Reply #33 on: April 15, 2013, 08:44:30 AM »

Could someone provide a list of 10 to 20intelectual inthe West who converted to Orthodoxy not through marriage or because of their heritage. List can be bigger if possible and could include deceased individuals. Their reasons for converting might shed some more light on this.

What criteria defines "intellectual"?

1. Jaroslav Pelikan.

How about the conversion to Orthodoxy of experienced Roman Catholic priest-monks who were also renowned patristic scholars:

Fr. Placide (Deseille) - renowned Byzantine Catholic patristic scholar in France that chose to be received into Orthodoxy by baptism on Mt. Athos.

Fr. Gabriel (Bunge) - Swiss Catholic patristic scholar and hermit
http://www.pravmir.com/article_1220.html
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« Reply #34 on: April 15, 2013, 09:34:47 AM »

I listen to "The Journey Home" on EWTN. It's a wonderful program hosted by Marcus Grodi where he interviews converts to Catholicism.

This isn't the first time I've heard a non-Catholic say they like that show -- indeed I've many times had said experience -- and yet it never fails to amaze me.

I'm a lifelong Catholic, and I've basically never liked The Journey Home -- and I'm including the times of my life when I was more conservative, more traditionalist, less ecumenical, or a much bigger fan of EWTN in general, than I am now.
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« Reply #35 on: April 15, 2013, 09:47:34 AM »

I listen to "The Journey Home" on EWTN. It's a wonderful program hosted by Marcus Grodi where he interviews converts to Catholicism.

This isn't the first time I've heard a non-Catholic say they like that show -- indeed I've many times had said experience -- and yet it never fails to amaze me.

I'm a lifelong Catholic, and I've basically never liked The Journey Home -- and I'm including the times of my life when I was more conservative, more traditionalist, less ecumenical, or a much bigger fan of EWTN in general, than I am now.

I never liked it either and I really wonder how many cradle Catholics do.  It seems to me like a lot of a hot air blowing and "me me me" stories.  I understand that for converts it can be an invaluable source of, "I'm not so alone," but it reeks of triumphalism to me.
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« Reply #36 on: April 15, 2013, 09:59:00 AM »

I listen to "The Journey Home" on EWTN. It's a wonderful program hosted by Marcus Grodi where he interviews converts to Catholicism.

This isn't the first time I've heard a non-Catholic say they like that show -- indeed I've many times had said experience -- and yet it never fails to amaze me.

I'm a lifelong Catholic, and I've basically never liked The Journey Home -- and I'm including the times of my life when I was more conservative, more traditionalist, less ecumenical, or a much bigger fan of EWTN in general, than I am now.

I never liked it either and I really wonder how many cradle Catholics do.  It seems to me like a lot of a hot air blowing and "me me me" stories.  I understand that for converts it can be an invaluable source of, "I'm not so alone," but it reeks of triumphalism to me.
Lots of followers of the Vatican from the cradle like triumphalism. (Lots of cradle Orthodox do as well).
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« Reply #37 on: April 15, 2013, 10:38:59 AM »

I listen to "The Journey Home" on EWTN. It's a wonderful program hosted by Marcus Grodi where he interviews converts to Catholicism.

This isn't the first time I've heard a non-Catholic say they like that show -- indeed I've many times had said experience -- and yet it never fails to amaze me.

I'm a lifelong Catholic, and I've basically never liked The Journey Home -- and I'm including the times of my life when I was more conservative, more traditionalist, less ecumenical, or a much bigger fan of EWTN in general, than I am now.

I never liked it either and I really wonder how many cradle Catholics do.  It seems to me like a lot of a hot air blowing and "me me me" stories.  I understand that for converts it can be an invaluable source of, "I'm not so alone," but it reeks of triumphalism to me.
Lots of followers of the Vatican from the cradle like triumphalism. (Lots of cradle Orthodox do as well).

The triumphalism I'm talking about is the convert's own apparent triumphalism (as in, "I found the true church!") and not the regular variety, if you follow me.  In short, I find most of the stories to lack humility or, worse yet, pride disguised as humility.
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« Reply #38 on: April 15, 2013, 10:46:12 AM »

We have a parishioner who is a full on PhD. Byzantine scholar who converted.

If you listen to The Journey Home long enough you will find their attitude towards Orthodoxy is "why go to something so ethnic and foreign. You should stick with your own familiar culture"
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« Reply #39 on: April 15, 2013, 10:57:15 AM »

I think I read somewhere that Dr Scott Hahn did look into Orthodoxy, but found it to lack the unity he found in Rome.

Clark Carlton addresses this particular case in his book "The Truth," in the chapter "A Note for Evangelicals Considering Rome" which you can read online here.

I posted the article on Dr. Hahn's facebook page.  Is that wrong ?
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« Reply #40 on: April 15, 2013, 11:38:04 AM »

Fr. John Romanides is basically a crank when he talks about the Franks, the West, Orthodoxy as psychotherapy, and all the other bizarre pet theories he advances. He may have been very learned but his talk about spinal fluid, blood flow, etc. is insane

I couldn't agree more.
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« Reply #41 on: April 15, 2013, 12:07:38 PM »

All of this is rubbish. Put away the websites and pop-Orthodox articles and actually take the time to read the Fathers, East and West. The Church-as-hospital metaphor is useful and true so far as it goes; in the hands of Fr. John Romanides it becomes completely distorted into pseudoscience. It is not a legitimate distinction between East and West; there are enough real differences between Orthodoxy and Catholicism without having to invent more.

You are using hard words against two highly respected Orthodox theologians of our time. Care to elaborate?

The silly East-West dichotomy, Fr. Romanides' goofy ideas about spinal fluid, and other related topics have all been discussed pretty much to death in several other threads.
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« Reply #42 on: April 15, 2013, 12:29:00 PM »

I listen to "The Journey Home" on EWTN. It's a wonderful program hosted by Marcus Grodi where he interviews converts to Catholicism.

This isn't the first time I've heard a non-Catholic say they like that show -- indeed I've many times had said experience -- and yet it never fails to amaze me.

I'm a lifelong Catholic, and I've basically never liked The Journey Home -- and I'm including the times of my life when I was more conservative, more traditionalist, less ecumenical, or a much bigger fan of EWTN in general, than I am now.

I never liked it either and I really wonder how many cradle Catholics do.  It seems to me like a lot of a hot air blowing and "me me me" stories.  I understand that for converts it can be an invaluable source of, "I'm not so alone," but it reeks of triumphalism to me.
Lots of followers of the Vatican from the cradle like triumphalism. (Lots of cradle Orthodox do as well).

The triumphalism I'm talking about is the convert's own apparent triumphalism (as in, "I found the true church!") and not the regular variety, if you follow me. 

I think a lot of cradles do actually eat that stuff up, although I'm not entirely sure why.
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« Reply #43 on: April 15, 2013, 12:30:32 PM »

Fr. George Maloney was a Jesuit priest who converted to Orthodoxy.

http://www.grocefuneralhome.com/_mgxroot/page_10780.php?id=237870
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« Reply #44 on: April 15, 2013, 01:14:49 PM »

All of this is rubbish. Put away the websites and pop-Orthodox articles and actually take the time to read the Fathers, East and West. The Church-as-hospital metaphor is useful and true so far as it goes; in the hands of Fr. John Romanides it becomes completely distorted into pseudoscience. It is not a legitimate distinction between East and West; there are enough real differences between Orthodoxy and Catholicism without having to invent more.

You are using hard words against two highly respected Orthodox theologians of our time. Care to elaborate?

The silly East-West dichotomy, Fr. Romanides' goofy ideas about spinal fluid, and other related topics have all been discussed pretty much to death in several other threads.
I only found this short (3 post) thread.  A quick death, evidently.
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,10071.msg137019.html#msg137019
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« Reply #45 on: April 15, 2013, 01:29:54 PM »

All of this is rubbish. Put away the websites and pop-Orthodox articles and actually take the time to read the Fathers, East and West. The Church-as-hospital metaphor is useful and true so far as it goes; in the hands of Fr. John Romanides it becomes completely distorted into pseudoscience. It is not a legitimate distinction between East and West; there are enough real differences between Orthodoxy and Catholicism without having to invent more.

You are using hard words against two highly respected Orthodox theologians of our time. Care to elaborate?

The silly East-West dichotomy, Fr. Romanides' goofy ideas about spinal fluid, and other related topics have all been discussed pretty much to death in several other threads.
I only found this short (3 post) thread.  A quick death, evidently.
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,10071.msg137019.html#msg137019

I see someone saying that it's a metaphor, and offering no evidence for that. Perhaps for him it is self-evidently a metaphor, because no one could take such a silly thing literally. Unfortunately human beings are often disappointing in this regard. The consistency and vehemence with which Fr. John used this supposed metaphor, across a range of contexts, IMO suggests strongly that he did not mean it as a metaphor.

Readers can judge for themselves. Some examples:

Quote
All fantasies, especially that of religion, are caused by a short circuit at the center of the human personality. It is this short circuit which is cured by the illumination of the heart by unceasing payer, as distinguished from intellectual prayer with the brain at given times. The study of this cure in St. Paul will comprise the heart of this study. We repeat that when illumination results in glorification then both men and women have been ordained prophets. This is what prophets are in both the Old and the New Testaments and this is what makes fathers of the Church. What the prophets have seen above seeing in their glorifications is Yaweh Himself both before and after His incarnation.

This short circuit, which needs curing, exists between the heart, which pumps blood, and the spinal cord, which causes the circulation of spinal fluid. All fantasies are rooted in this short circuit which is nothing more than an electrical short circuit. This malady cuts its victims off from reality at varying degrees. Because of this malady one does not always distinguish between reality and fantasies.

Source

Quote
What "illumination" of the heart cures is an electrical short circuit between the spinal fluid and the blood system. It is this short circuit which produces the fantasies by which the devil rules humans. Many such fantasies about the world and human ideas about reality have been put straight by modern science. However, many fantasies which dominate human relations are still uncontrollable and extremely dangerous, especially in the field of religion, international relations, economics and politics.

Source

Note the reference to "modern science" having cured many problems caused by this "short circuit."
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« Reply #46 on: April 15, 2013, 11:28:12 PM »

All of this is rubbish. Put away the websites and pop-Orthodox articles and actually take the time to read the Fathers, East and West. The Church-as-hospital metaphor is useful and true so far as it goes; in the hands of Fr. John Romanides it becomes completely distorted into pseudoscience. It is not a legitimate distinction between East and West; there are enough real differences between Orthodoxy and Catholicism without having to invent more.

You are using hard words against two highly respected Orthodox theologians of our time. Care to elaborate?

The silly East-West dichotomy, Fr. Romanides' goofy ideas about spinal fluid, and other related topics have all been discussed pretty much to death in several other threads.
I only found this short (3 post) thread.  A quick death, evidently.
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,10071.msg137019.html#msg137019

I see someone saying that it's a metaphor, and offering no evidence for that. Perhaps for him it is self-evidently a metaphor, because no one could take such a silly thing literally. Unfortunately human beings are often disappointing in this regard. The consistency and vehemence with which Fr. John used this supposed metaphor, across a range of contexts, IMO suggests strongly that he did not mean it as a metaphor.

Readers can judge for themselves. Some examples:

Quote
All fantasies, especially that of religion, are caused by a short circuit at the center of the human personality. It is this short circuit which is cured by the illumination of the heart by unceasing payer, as distinguished from intellectual prayer with the brain at given times. The study of this cure in St. Paul will comprise the heart of this study. We repeat that when illumination results in glorification then both men and women have been ordained prophets. This is what prophets are in both the Old and the New Testaments and this is what makes fathers of the Church. What the prophets have seen above seeing in their glorifications is Yaweh Himself both before and after His incarnation.

This short circuit, which needs curing, exists between the heart, which pumps blood, and the spinal cord, which causes the circulation of spinal fluid. All fantasies are rooted in this short circuit which is nothing more than an electrical short circuit. This malady cuts its victims off from reality at varying degrees. Because of this malady one does not always distinguish between reality and fantasies.

Source

Quote
What "illumination" of the heart cures is an electrical short circuit between the spinal fluid and the blood system. It is this short circuit which produces the fantasies by which the devil rules humans. Many such fantasies about the world and human ideas about reality have been put straight by modern science. However, many fantasies which dominate human relations are still uncontrollable and extremely dangerous, especially in the field of religion, international relations, economics and politics.

Source

Note the reference to "modern science" having cured many problems caused by this "short circuit."

I vote for Metaphor. Fr. John Romanides wrote this in 1996. He might have this hang up about the Franks, but he was not an idiot.
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« Reply #47 on: April 16, 2013, 02:21:43 AM »

Could someone provide a list of 10 to 20intelectual inthe West who converted to Orthodoxy not through marriage or because of their heritage. List can be bigger if possible and could include deceased individuals. Their reasons for converting might shed some more light on this.

What criteria defines "intellectual"?

1. Jaroslav Pelikan.

How about the conversion to Orthodoxy of experienced Roman Catholic priest-monks who were also renowned patristic scholars:

Fr. Placide (Deseille) - renowned Byzantine Catholic patristic scholar in France that chose to be received into Orthodoxy by baptism on Mt. Athos.

Fr. Gabriel (Bunge) - Swiss Catholic patristic scholar and hermit
http://www.pravmir.com/article_1220.html
thank you both. When I get more time I will look to compare the reasons of 5-10 Orthodox and 5-10 Roman Catholic converts and perhaps that might help us see why they chose one over the other. Another one that came to my mind is Klaus Kenneth. Even though his wife is Serbian, from my recollection she was not the reason for his conversion
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« Reply #48 on: April 16, 2013, 06:14:41 AM »

Isn't Kenneth a scholar of literature, rather than theology?
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« Reply #49 on: April 16, 2013, 07:52:48 AM »

All of this is rubbish. Put away the websites and pop-Orthodox articles and actually take the time to read the Fathers, East and West. The Church-as-hospital metaphor is useful and true so far as it goes; in the hands of Fr. John Romanides it becomes completely distorted into pseudoscience. It is not a legitimate distinction between East and West; there are enough real differences between Orthodoxy and Catholicism without having to invent more.

You are using hard words against two highly respected Orthodox theologians of our time. Care to elaborate?

The silly East-West dichotomy, Fr. Romanides' goofy ideas about spinal fluid, and other related topics have all been discussed pretty much to death in several other threads.
I only found this short (3 post) thread.  A quick death, evidently.
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,10071.msg137019.html#msg137019

I see someone saying that it's a metaphor, and offering no evidence for that. Perhaps for him it is self-evidently a metaphor, because no one could take such a silly thing literally. Unfortunately human beings are often disappointing in this regard. The consistency and vehemence with which Fr. John used this supposed metaphor, across a range of contexts, IMO suggests strongly that he did not mean it as a metaphor.

Readers can judge for themselves. Some examples:

Quote
All fantasies, especially that of religion, are caused by a short circuit at the center of the human personality. It is this short circuit which is cured by the illumination of the heart by unceasing payer, as distinguished from intellectual prayer with the brain at given times. The study of this cure in St. Paul will comprise the heart of this study. We repeat that when illumination results in glorification then both men and women have been ordained prophets. This is what prophets are in both the Old and the New Testaments and this is what makes fathers of the Church. What the prophets have seen above seeing in their glorifications is Yaweh Himself both before and after His incarnation.

This short circuit, which needs curing, exists between the heart, which pumps blood, and the spinal cord, which causes the circulation of spinal fluid. All fantasies are rooted in this short circuit which is nothing more than an electrical short circuit. This malady cuts its victims off from reality at varying degrees. Because of this malady one does not always distinguish between reality and fantasies.

Source

Quote
What "illumination" of the heart cures is an electrical short circuit between the spinal fluid and the blood system. It is this short circuit which produces the fantasies by which the devil rules humans. Many such fantasies about the world and human ideas about reality have been put straight by modern science. However, many fantasies which dominate human relations are still uncontrollable and extremely dangerous, especially in the field of religion, international relations, economics and politics.

Source

Note the reference to "modern science" having cured many problems caused by this "short circuit."

Yes, Fr. John Romanides did make some valuable contributions for sure, but his attempts to describe man's fallen condition and the healing of man's fallen condition in "neurobiological" terms; as well as his use of the strange term "the sickness of religion" rather than referring to the sickness of man's fallen condition; are a couple of the idiosyncrasies which detract from the value of his work.  Met Hierotheos, while certainly influenced by Fr. John Romanides, does not adopt these idiosyncrasies as far as I can tell, and is on much more solid patristic ground. 
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« Reply #50 on: April 16, 2013, 08:37:50 AM »

Note the reference to "modern science" having cured many problems caused by this "short circuit."

He doesn't say "cured" but "put straight". Modern science has indeed been responsible for ridding us of any number of harmful superstitions by which the devil could have wreaked havoc in the past.

I'm not an expert on Romanides, and may well be wrong, but whenever I came accross medical references in his works I never understood them as anything other than analogies of spiritual truths - the medical analogies serving his idea of Orthodoxy as psychotherapia, or 'healing of the soul'. In Met. Hierotheos' book Orthodox Psychotherapy, where he endlessly cites Romanides, he leaves no doubt as to the fact that his medical analogies are just that, analogies.

I will second the stuff said about their rather meaningless hang-up about the Franks, though.
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« Reply #51 on: April 16, 2013, 09:12:57 AM »

Note the reference to "modern science" having cured many problems caused by this "short circuit."

He doesn't say "cured" but "put straight". Modern science has indeed been responsible for ridding us of any number of harmful superstitions by which the devil could have wreaked havoc in the past.

It has dispelled some superstitions (while erecting its own fetishes in their place). It certainly has ruled out, for instance, the cosmology outlined by St. Gregory Palamas in the opening section of his 150 Chapters, where he says among other things that the earth and the ocean are two eccentric spheres, but I trust no one will accuse the great hesychast father of a "neurobiological sickness" in this regard, even if he didn't get it quite right.

But if Fr. John simply meant that modern science has cleared away some bad ideas, then fair enough. Perhaps he was using a metaphor after all- in that case though it really doesn't elucidate his point any more than if he had simply used the traditional terminology about the mind and the heart.

He is catering to a need in some quarters to explain spirituality in terms of modern scientific terms. Presumably Orthodox spirituality will be more palatable to us if we can express in terms similar to what a doctor might say when he's prescribing us treatment and medicine. Like the "Orthodoxy is not a religion" schtick, this is a gimmick that he has in common with a lot of New Age hucksters. Not that Fr. John is a huckster or a New Ager, but there is a danger commonality with them in his method.

This raises a further question: the "Franco-Latin" Christian tradition AKA "Augustinianism" which he says polluted the West, chained it to the neurobiological sickness of religion. However, he also notes how modern science has cured us of many fantasies brought on by the "short circuit" (something Orthodox spirituality is supposed to have a unique ability to do). Well, where does modern science come from? Not Mount Athos- it comes from Western philosophers who were very much steeped in "Augustinian" Christianity and all its attendant maladies. So how can modern science be a cure, and how can Fr. John so thoroughly appropriate its concepts to express Orthodox Christian spirituality?
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« Reply #52 on: April 16, 2013, 10:46:45 AM »

Well, where does modern science come from? Not Mount Athos- it comes from Western philosophers who were very much steeped in "Augustinian" Christianity and all its attendant maladies.

That's a popular misconception.
Western science is in fact based on overcoming theoretical philosophy and referring to experimental empiricism instead.
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« Reply #53 on: April 16, 2013, 10:57:03 AM »

Well, where does modern science come from? Not Mount Athos- it comes from Western philosophers who were very much steeped in "Augustinian" Christianity and all its attendant maladies.

That's a popular misconception.
Western science is in fact based on overcoming theoretical philosophy and referring to experimental empiricism instead.

What's the misconception? Are you denying that Francis Bacon, Isaac Newton, etc. were part of the "Franco-Latin" Christian tradition? Whether their new methods were in continuation or in rupture with that tradition, they were still coming out of it.

Furthermore, experimental empiricism was in fact a fairly logical outgrowth of the Aristotelian metaphysics that dominated Latin Christianity. The current scientific methodology, however revolutionary it seemed in the face of the ossified Aristotelian doctrines of the middle ages, was really a reworking/ revision of Aristotelian principles in many ways.

And it is still very far away from Orthodox principles of natural contemplation (see Sts. Maximus, Gregory of Sinai, Nikitas Stithatos, etc.)
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« Reply #54 on: April 16, 2013, 11:21:41 AM »

He is catering to a need in some quarters to explain spirituality in terms of modern scientific terms. Presumably Orthodox spirituality will be more palatable to us if we can express in terms similar to what a doctor might say when he's prescribing us treatment and medicine. Like the "Orthodoxy is not a religion" schtick, this is a gimmick that he has in common with a lot of New Age hucksters. Not that Fr. John is a huckster or a New Ager, but there is a danger commonality with them in his method.

Here I largely agree with you, though he's hardly alone in this. I think it's not so much about appealing to the scientifically minded as it is about showing Orthodoxy to be something radically different from the other Christian confession with which people may be familiar - an approach which might seem unpalatable to many from said confessions, but quite a useful one in a post-Christian society where people have an inbuilt sense of having rejected and moved beyond the "Christianity" of their grandparents without actually having any knowledge of what it is.

Quote
Well, where does modern science come from? Not Mount Athos- it comes from Western philosophers who were very much steeped in "Augustinian" Christianity and all its attendant maladies. So how can modern science be a cure, and how can Fr. John so thoroughly appropriate its concepts to express Orthodox Christian spirituality?

Well, he is saying modern science has resolved some things, but also that it leaves a lot to be desired, leaving unresolved "many fantasies which dominate human relations are still uncontrollable and extremely dangerous", so I wouldn't take his words as a wholesale endorsement of modern science. There is also the element of impiricism in modern science which removes it, at least to a degree, from the philosophical and cultural context from which it may originally have arisen.

As for the appropriation of concepts, one of the major themes in his work is the notion of Orthodoxy as the healing of a malady, which he feels is forgotten or undermined. It seems quite appropriate for him to borrow common medical jargon, whatever its source, in order for him to emphasise that point. In older works you have references to blood letting, potions, and whatnot. Fr. Romanides is simply bringing those analogies in line with the modern day equivalents.
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« Reply #55 on: April 16, 2013, 12:15:57 PM »

Isn't Kenneth a scholar of literature, rather than theology?
Not sure but in this comparison I don't we should limit it to only theologians just to see if the reasons differ from the theologians.
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« Reply #56 on: April 16, 2013, 07:55:40 PM »

I think I read somewhere that Dr Scott Hahn did look into Orthodoxy, but found it to lack the unity he found in Rome.

Clark Carlton addresses this particular case in his book "The Truth," in the chapter "A Note for Evangelicals Considering Rome" which you can read online here.

There are also some threads about it. I don't want to rehash them, but there's one thing that I rarely see mentioned.

Carlton (and many other people, possibly following his lead) quote Hahn beginning with the word "So", but I think you get a clearer picture if you start with the sentence before "So":

Quote
...
I still hoped to find that one fatal flaw that would keep me from "swimming the Tiber", as we say, or from "pope-ing".

So I started looking into Orthodoxy.
...

Of course you have to read more than that small quote to get a full sense of it, but basically what I'm getting out of that beginning is that he only bothered looking into Eastern Orthodoxy once his original assumption -- that Protestantism is better than Catholicism -- was shown to be false.

I'm guessing that is true of a great many protestants.
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« Reply #57 on: April 17, 2013, 03:49:01 AM »

Could someone provide a list of 10 to 20intelectual inthe West who converted to Orthodoxy not through marriage or because of their heritage. List can be bigger if possible and could include deceased individuals. Their reasons for converting might shed some more light on this.

What criteria defines "intellectual"?

1. Jaroslav Pelikan.

How about the conversion to Orthodoxy of experienced Roman Catholic priest-monks who were also renowned patristic scholars:

Fr. Placide (Deseille) - renowned Byzantine Catholic patristic scholar in France that chose to be received into Orthodoxy by baptism on Mt. Athos.

Fr. Gabriel (Bunge) - Swiss Catholic patristic scholar and hermit
http://www.pravmir.com/article_1220.html

We should add Father Vladimir Guettée:

http://orthodoxwiki.org/Vladimir_Guett%C3%A9e

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« Reply #58 on: April 17, 2013, 09:44:12 AM »

Could someone provide a list of 10 to 20intelectual inthe West who converted to Orthodoxy not through marriage or because of their heritage. List can be bigger if possible and could include deceased individuals. Their reasons for converting might shed some more light on this.

What criteria defines "intellectual"?

1. Jaroslav Pelikan.

How about the conversion to Orthodoxy of experienced Roman Catholic priest-monks who were also renowned patristic scholars:

Fr. Placide (Deseille) - renowned Byzantine Catholic patristic scholar in France that chose to be received into Orthodoxy by baptism on Mt. Athos.

Fr. Gabriel (Bunge) - Swiss Catholic patristic scholar and hermit
http://www.pravmir.com/article_1220.html

We should add Father Vladimir Guettée:

http://orthodoxwiki.org/Vladimir_Guett%C3%A9e



And...

Bishop Paul de Ballester, the former Franciscan monk (http://www.saintnicodemos.org/articles/exodus.php)

Fr. Pataci, the former Jesuit priest (http://www.oodegr.com/english/biblia/isouitis1/perieh.htm)

These are all scholarly Roman Catholics who converted to Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #59 on: April 17, 2013, 10:40:09 AM »

Not to mention...

Fr. Seraphim (Rose)

Hiermonk Alexis (Trader), spiritual father of Karakallou Monastery on the Holy Mountain and author of "Ancient Christian Wisdom and Aaron Beck's Cognitive Therapy: A Meeting of Minds"
http://www.amazon.com/Ancient-Christian-Wisdom-Cognitive-Therapy/dp/1433121565
http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2011/03/following-is-first-in-series-of-four.html

Fr. Theophanes (Constantine), Athonite monk and author of the tremendous work entitled "The Psychological Basis for Mental Prayer in the Heart":
http://timiosprodromos4.blogspot.com/2006/01/description-of-work.html
Volume 1 Table of contents: http://timiosprodromos.blogspot.com/2006/01/volume-i-table-of-contents.html

Met Kallistos Ware:
http://www.spu.edu/depts/uc/response/winter2k9/features/orthodox-church.asp

And, of course, thousands of others.
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« Reply #60 on: April 17, 2013, 01:04:34 PM »

I'm just throwing this out there, but is it possible that the Western tendency to view "our" story as that of the whole world could, in a way, prohibit one from embracing a narrative that presupposes the one we tell ourselves is wrong? What I mean is, saying the one true Church is that of the Orthodox East means "our" story isn't the "true" story that God is telling in history. "We" left the picture somewhere around 1054.

Mind you, I'm not saying this is "how things really are" but, when one is considering conversion, one has to ultimately embrace the narrative any prospective Church is telling. Since "the West" views its own story as "the story of world history" with any major events elsewhere in the world only looked at in light of its effect on "our" story, maybe some just can't abandon that narrative in favor of one that says the actual history of Christ's Body on earth happened in the "East"?
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« Reply #61 on: April 17, 2013, 01:08:48 PM »

On the other side, I think that most, if not all, scholarly converts to Orthodoxy considered RCism first.
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« Reply #62 on: April 17, 2013, 02:34:25 PM »

Quote
Btw, he mentions up front two very scholarly converts: Bishop Kallistos Ware and Jaroslav Pelikan of blessed memory.  The latter really shook the Lutherans when he left, being one of their major theologians/historians.


Jaroslav Pelikan's grandfather was an Orthodox priest.  Pelikan spoke in Toronto at the University of Toronto during the Lent before he officially converted and he mentioned the connection he had with his mother's family who were Orthodox and also that his mother always told him she named him after Yaroslav the Wise.  Pelikan I believe from he said thought of it as coming home to his mother's religious tradition.  I don't know why this shcoked the Lutherans because if you read his books before his conversion he was moving in an Orthodox direction.
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« Reply #63 on: April 17, 2013, 03:29:11 PM »

Are not all these scholarly converts either from an eastern heritage and/or byz cath at the time of their conversions?

It would be more impressive for an Italian scholar to change his mind.
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« Reply #64 on: April 17, 2013, 06:41:45 PM »

Jaroslav Pelikan's grandfather was an Orthodox priest.  Pelikan spoke in Toronto at the University of Toronto during the Lent before he officially converted and he mentioned the connection he had with his mother's family who were Orthodox and also that his mother always told him she named him after Yaroslav the Wise.  Pelikan I believe from he said thought of it as coming home to his mother's religious tradition.  I don't know why this shcoked the Lutherans because if you read his books before his conversion he was moving in an Orthodox direction.
That is very interesting. As a Pelikan fan, I thank you for sharing that tidbit.

I have long enjoyed speculating and investigating what leads some scholarly, well-read converts to Roman Catholicism while others choose Orthodoxy. The following is a list of the things I have noticed in reading about converts that seems to explain why they choose one over the other:

1. Marriage and family ties. The first example that comes to mind is Peter Kreeft, whose wife is Catholic. This likely influenced his decision, and Pelikan may have chosen Orthodoxy in part because of his roots.

2. Conviction of Thomism or Catholic philosophical tradition. If you are a Thomist like Edward Feser, Francis Beckwith, or a virtue ethicist like Alasdair MacIntyre I can see how you would prefer the RCC to the EOC. In general the Roman tradition seems to appeal more to those with an intellectual, rationalist bent; people who like having an organized explanation of doctrines, whereas Orthodoxy has more of an appeal to those more comfortable in mystery or those with a more mystical/ spiritual bent. A disclaimer: this is all an obvious oversimplification since Orthodoxy has its rationalists and Roman Catholicism has its mystics.

3. Ease of access, or "this one is good enough"-ism. Roman Catholicism is much more prevalent in the West, and there is a false idea that Eastern Orthodoxy is basically the same thing so it doesn't make a difference; however I know quite a few Roman Catholic converts who chose Rome with a pretty substantial knowledge of Orthodoxy.

4. Anti-Roman Catholic bias. At the local Antiochian parish people are constantly talking about how wrong and corrupt the Roman Catholics are. They like to teach you about Orthodoxy by pointing out all the ways in which it is better than Roman Catholicism.
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« Reply #65 on: April 17, 2013, 07:27:42 PM »

4. Anti-Roman Catholic bias. At the local Antiochian parish people are constantly talking about how wrong and corrupt the Roman Catholics are. They like to teach you about Orthodoxy by pointing out all the ways in which it is better than Roman Catholicism.
I've noticed this type of attitude too (probably more so since I'm True Orthodox).  Outside of internet forums it really gets on my nerves.
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« Reply #66 on: April 18, 2013, 03:34:24 AM »

Are not all these scholarly converts either from an eastern heritage and/or byz cath at the time of their conversions?

It would be more impressive for an Italian scholar to change his mind.

Clearly not all of them, no. Guettee was French, for instance.

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« Reply #67 on: April 18, 2013, 03:41:05 AM »

Before we move on, what is a "scholarly convert"?
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« Reply #68 on: April 18, 2013, 05:02:20 AM »

Are not all these scholarly converts either from an eastern heritage and/or byz cath at the time of their conversions?

It would be more impressive for an Italian scholar to change his mind.

Clearly not all of them, no. Guettee was French, for instance.

James

Yes, Father Guettée of glorious memory was even of strong augustinian tendancy. He has written enormous volumes on History of the Church in France, wich he died before finishing it.
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« Reply #69 on: April 18, 2013, 07:52:06 AM »

Quote
Btw, he mentions up front two very scholarly converts: Bishop Kallistos Ware and Jaroslav Pelikan of blessed memory.  The latter really shook the Lutherans when he left, being one of their major theologians/historians.


Jaroslav Pelikan's grandfather was an Orthodox priest.  Pelikan spoke in Toronto at the University of Toronto during the Lent before he officially converted and he mentioned the connection he had with his mother's family who were Orthodox and also that his mother always told him she named him after Yaroslav the Wise.  Pelikan I believe from he said thought of it as coming home to his mother's religious tradition.  I don't know why this shcoked the Lutherans because if you read his books before his conversion he was moving in an Orthodox direction.
Because of where he came from: he had a hand in editing the English translation of the Book of Concord, the Lutheran Symbolic book. His father was a Slovak Lutheran minister of Trinity Slovak Lutheran Church (which still exists: it is rather close to my neighborhood), and his grandfather a "bishop" of the Slovak Lutheran Church in America.

A Slovak Orthodox Priest in the days of the Habsburgs, that in itself is interesting.
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« Reply #70 on: April 18, 2013, 07:59:11 AM »

Are not all these scholarly converts either from an eastern heritage and/or byz cath at the time of their conversions?

It would be more impressive for an Italian scholar to change his mind.
Why more so than an Englishman, e.g. the former Timothy Ware, who had no Eastern background and was a W.A.S.P. from way back.

Just a side note: in my own case, my Eastern heritage had nothing to do my conversion, having been a Lutheran in the Middle East.
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« Reply #71 on: April 18, 2013, 08:04:05 AM »

Are not all these scholarly converts either from an eastern heritage and/or byz cath at the time of their conversions?

It would be more impressive for an Italian scholar to change his mind.

No.  Of those mentioned, Fr. Placide, Fr. Theophanes, and Fr. Gabriel were Eastern Rite before their conversion but they were Latin Rite Catholics prior to that.  In other words, they all made a good effort to be Orthodox under the Pope, but eventually recognized that they were still outside of the Church.
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« Reply #72 on: April 18, 2013, 09:37:47 AM »

Because of where he came from: he had a hand in editing the English translation of the Book of Concord, the Lutheran Symbolic book.

He was also the editor of Luther's complete works in English.

When I was visiting the monastery of St. John the Baptist in Essex, there was a Polish gentleman named Jaroslav there. A young Serbian theology student kept calling him Jaroslav Pelikan (admiratively). He took offence, because - he said - it took Pelikan so long to convert: he had all the information he needed, so he should have made up his mind a lot sooner!  Smiley   
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« Reply #73 on: April 18, 2013, 09:58:42 AM »

Before we move on, what is a "scholarly convert"?

I stopped moving. I am pretty sure the most recent posts represent a side topic.

My interpretation is that we are on a hunting expeditions looking for people who are knowledgeable about world history and religion that converted to Roman Catholicism. Then we are supposed to psychoanalyze them. That is the fun part. For example we need to find a Byzantine scholar that was originally an Animist that later became a Roman Catholic.
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« Reply #74 on: April 18, 2013, 02:04:39 PM »

I think many just label themselves as "scholarly" with out actually being so.

I had a recent run in with a guy who claimed to have studied the Bible, and early Christianity, extensively. Yet he had never heard of the Orthodox Church, he gave me the impression that he was of the mind that the Church became corrupted around the time of Constantine (he never said that out right), and his only fall back to certain things -  like praying for the dead or infant baptism - was, "That's not biblical!"

I asked him what Bible he was using and he proceeded to list off a number of different versions he had (i.e. NASB, KJV, NIV etc.). Then I tried to tell him about the LXX and how that is what was widely used in Jesus' time and he flat out told me that only the Apocrypha had been translated into Greek and that the "proper" canon was always in Hebrew (hence you couldn't trust the Maccabees, Sirach, Tobit, etc).

I did get him to agree that the Bible wasn't even put together until after 300 years after Christ, but he couldn't get a grasp on Tradition because it wasn't in the Bible  Huh For example he couldn't accept that Ignatius and Polycarp were disciples of the Apostles because it wasn't in the Bible...



This seems, to me at least, to be the kind of "scholarly" person who would ultimately end up becoming Roman Catholic. It is the only other choice that they know because it is the only other choice they have ever been told there is (meaning either Protestant or RCC). So once they start delving in to the early history of the Church (and wanting to make a change or willing to be open to change) and they see were Saint Soandso said this, or x belief of the early Church fits what they think is the Roman Catholic Church (St. Ignatius on Bishops, perhaps). So they end up in the RCC because they found similarities in their studies and just stopped there exclaiming, "Eureka! I found the Church (because it was the only other option that I know of)."


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« Reply #75 on: April 18, 2013, 04:08:57 PM »

Yes, Father Guettée of glorious memory was even of strong augustinian tendancy. He has written enormous volumes on History of the Church in France, wich he died before finishing it.

I thought you guys only did that with eggs.
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« Reply #76 on: April 19, 2013, 01:23:25 AM »

Let's just define scholarly according to dictionary
1. a learned or erudite person, especially one who has profound knowledge of a particular subject.

When we look up their reasons for choosing Orthodoxy or Roman Catholicism it might be interesting...also I would like to add that I agree with many comments already mentioned.
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« Reply #77 on: April 20, 2013, 07:00:47 AM »

Because of where he came from: he had a hand in editing the English translation of the Book of Concord, the Lutheran Symbolic book.

He was also the editor of Luther's complete works in English.

When I was visiting the monastery of St. John the Baptist in Essex, there was a Polish gentleman named Jaroslav there. A young Serbian theology student kept calling him Jaroslav Pelikan (admiratively). He took offence, because - he said - it took Pelikan so long to convert: he had all the information he needed, so he should have made up his mind a lot sooner!  Smiley   

That's one perspective. Another is that he wasn't strong enough to hold out any longer.

 Wink
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« Reply #78 on: April 20, 2013, 04:30:28 PM »

What I meant was "Why do scholarly Catholic converts never hear about Orthodoxy?"

I have no doubts that there are many well-read Orthodox converts.


Have in mind that I believe that Orthodox Christianity is "the Way" the only true succession of Apostolic teachings...Here I am presenting "both side" with hope to seeing reasons of the mentioned individuals can provide an answer to the OP. Bolding is done by me.

Here is one example of chosing Roman Catholicism:
Cardinal John Henry Newman
http://credo.stormloader.com/Ecumenic/newmaneo.htm

In his remarkable volume "Newman to Converts: An Existential Ecclesiology", Real View Books, 2001, Fr. Stanley Jaki has provided key excerpts from Newman’s voluminous private correspondence where one finds the Oratorian, answering the queries of many troubled Anglicans. (Pages from this volume follow unless otherwise indicated). Some sought to find justification for their Branch Theory of the Church by an appeal to the not insignificant numbers of Greek and Russian Orthodox Christians or were tempted to join the separated Eastern Orthodox communion as the "true Church". Whatever their numbers, Newman replied to one correspondent, they were not universal, and thus like the ancient Donatists confined to North Africa, were not Catholic.

The Church was the Kingdom of God on earth, and a unique visible polity ruled by the successors of the Apostles. "If the Church be a visible kingdom, where is such a kingdom, visible and yet spiritual, all over the earth except the Catholic Church?" (p. 238) The Catholic Church was "a body, and next a body in many lands... at once one and Catholic." (p.238) Moreover, the relative stagnancy of the separated Eastern Churches suffering under oppression was a factor that could not be avoided: "The ‘kingdom of heaven’ is a polity, which implies political life, activity, history, progress, development, warfare, etc. All this the Roman Church has- the Greek has not- and the more it is known, the less it is seen to have." Moreover, the enslaved Church under the Czars had fallen victim to "the Erastian heresy", and the absence of a center of unity among the Easterners negated the visible unity demanded of the Mystical Body of Christ in the world : "What centre is there in the Greek Church? What real intercommunion between Russia and Syria? A sympathy, nothing else." (pp. 215-216)

Fr. Jaki relates how to the same correspondent "Newman recalled his own path to conversion: ‘I was converted by the manifest and intimate identity of the modern Roman Catholic Church with the Antenicene and Nicene Church- to which I thought the present Greek Church absurdly contrary." (p. 222)


Here areexamples of chosing Orthodox Christianity:



Fr. Gabriel Bunge
http://journeytoorthodoxy.com/2011/01/26/a-catholic-hermit-converted-to-orthodoxy/#axzz1IkCaBp00

Q: Why did you decide to adopt it? One can love Orthodoxy with all one’s heart and stay within the traditional Catholicism. There are many such examples in the West.
A: Yes, many people who are drawn to Orthodoxy stay within the Catholic Church. And this is normal. In the majority of Western cathedrals there are Orthodox icons. In Italy, there are professional schools of icon painting taught by Russian specialists and others. More and more believers in Europe are interested today in Byzantine hymns. Even the traditionalists of the Catholic Church have been discovering Byzantine singing. Of course they do not use them during the divine service in the church, but outside of the church, for example, at concerts. Orthodox literature gets translated into all European languages, and the books are published in the major Catholic publishing houses. In short, in the West they really have not lost the taste for all authentic, Christian, that the Eastern tradition has preserved. But, alas, it changes nothing in real life of people and society on the whole. The interest in Orthodoxy is more cultural. And those wretched people like me who have a spiritual interest in Orthodoxy, are left in the minority. We are like weirdos; we are seldom understood.

Q: As a theologian, you have often spoken on the problem of West and East’s separation. Can we say that your conversion to Orthodoxy is the result of your meditation on this topic?
A: When I was in Greece and started turning towards Eastern Christianity, I began to perceive the schism between the East and the West very painfully. It stopped being an abstract theory or a plot in a Church history book, but rather something that was directly affecting my spiritual life. This is why the conversion to Orthodoxy started looking like a very logical step. In youth, I sincerely hoped that the union of the Western and the Eastern Christianity was possible. I was waiting for it to happen with all my heart. And I had some reasons to believe in it...But as I was growing older and learning some things deeper, I stopped believing in the possibility of the reconciliation of two Churches in terms of the divine services and institutional unity. What was I to do? I could only go on searching for this unity on my own, individually, restoring it in one separate soul, mine. I could not do more. I just followed my conscience, and came to Orthodoxy.

Fr Placide Deseille
http://avowofconversation.wordpress.com/2008/12/21/placide-deseille-on-twentieth-century-catholicism/

While the rapid disintegration of twentieth century Catholicism was troubling, Father Placide came to realise that it had deeper roots and was part of a certain logic of Catholicism itself.
This led me to reflect on the religious history of the West, and especially on the profound changes that one can identify in all areas between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries. In this period one sees changes in the institutions of the Church (notably the understanding of the papacy in the Gregorian reform), the sacramental rites (abandoning baptism by emersion, communion under two species, the deprecative formula for absolution etc.), doctrine (introduction of the Filioque in the Symbol, development of the scholastic method in theology). At the same time one saw the appearance of a new religious art that was naturalistic and broke with the canons of traditional Christian art that were elaborated during the course of the patristic period.


ps. There is no need to wait for me...Please post examples as you please and hopefully there will be some consistency in reasoning of choosing one over the other...
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« Reply #79 on: April 20, 2013, 08:16:29 PM »

What I meant was "Why do scholarly Catholic converts never hear about Orthodoxy?"

I have no doubts that there are many well-read Orthodox converts.


Have in mind that I believe that Orthodox Christianity is "the Way" the only true succession of Apostolic teachings...Here I am presenting "both side" with hope to seeing reasons of the mentioned individuals can provide an answer to the OP. Bolding is done by me.

Here is one example of chosing Roman Catholicism:
Cardinal John Henry Newman
http://credo.stormloader.com/Ecumenic/newmaneo.htm

In his remarkable volume "Newman to Converts: An Existential Ecclesiology", Real View Books, 2001, Fr. Stanley Jaki has provided key excerpts from Newman’s voluminous private correspondence where one finds the Oratorian, answering the queries of many troubled Anglicans. (Pages from this volume follow unless otherwise indicated). Some sought to find justification for their Branch Theory of the Church by an appeal to the not insignificant numbers of Greek and Russian Orthodox Christians or were tempted to join the separated Eastern Orthodox communion as the "true Church". Whatever their numbers, Newman replied to one correspondent, they were not universal, and thus like the ancient Donatists confined to North Africa, were not Catholic.

The Church was the Kingdom of God on earth, and a unique visible polity ruled by the successors of the Apostles. "If the Church be a visible kingdom, where is such a kingdom, visible and yet spiritual, all over the earth except the Catholic Church?" (p. 238) The Catholic Church was "a body, and next a body in many lands... at once one and Catholic." (p.238) Moreover, the relative stagnancy of the separated Eastern Churches suffering under oppression was a factor that could not be avoided: "The ‘kingdom of heaven’ is a polity, which implies political life, activity, history, progress, development, warfare, etc. All this the Roman Church has- the Greek has not- and the more it is known, the less it is seen to have." Moreover, the enslaved Church under the Czars had fallen victim to "the Erastian heresy", and the absence of a center of unity among the Easterners negated the visible unity demanded of the Mystical Body of Christ in the world : "What centre is there in the Greek Church? What real intercommunion between Russia and Syria? A sympathy, nothing else." (pp. 215-216)

ps. There is no need to wait for me...Please post examples as you please and hopefully there will be some consistency in reasoning of choosing one over the other...
It seems vestigial Scholastic polemics-of the sort that makes Protestants defend the filioque-bubbled up in Newman and blinded him to the truth of the matter.

I wonder what he would have to say after Vatican II, when we have seen what havock a relative lack of "stagnancy" can do.

Given the heavy involvement of Russia and her Church in Syria, leading to war with Britain in the Crimea, his ignorance is inexcusable.

Not to mention, I seem to remember the Apostles suffering under oppression.
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« Reply #80 on: April 20, 2013, 09:39:20 PM »

Eastern Christianity has Christ as its center of unity.

Now the danger with the Western approach, which advocates having a single "universal" bishop, is that the so-called supreme bishop - as the focus of unity - can alter anything within the Church on his own initiative (e.g., he could have a committee of "experts" create a whole new liturgy and then impose that monstrosity upon the whole Church by force of "law").
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« Reply #81 on: April 20, 2013, 11:00:55 PM »

Eastern Christianity has Christ as its center of unity.

Now the danger with the Western approach, which advocates having a single "universal" bishop, is that the so-called supreme bishop - as the focus of unity - can alter anything within the Church on his own initiative (e.g., he could have a committee of "experts" create a whole new liturgy and then impose that monstrosity upon the whole Church by force of "law").

I see what you did there...
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« Reply #82 on: April 20, 2013, 11:46:59 PM »

Eastern Christianity has Christ as its center of unity.

Now the danger with the Western approach, which advocates having a single "universal" bishop, is that the so-called supreme bishop - as the focus of unity - can alter anything within the Church on his own initiative (e.g., he could have a committee of "experts" create a whole new liturgy and then impose that monstrosity upon the whole Church by force of "law").

I see what you did there...

LOL!
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« Reply #83 on: April 20, 2013, 11:57:33 PM »

Are not all these scholarly converts either from an eastern heritage and/or byz cath at the time of their conversions?

It would be more impressive for an Italian scholar to change his mind.
Why more so than an Englishman, e.g. the former Timothy Ware, who had no Eastern background and was a W.A.S.P. from way back.

Just a side note: in my own case, my Eastern heritage had nothing to do my conversion, having been a Lutheran in the Middle East.

Because an English Protestant may still harbor anti-Catholic prejudice either overtly or culturally.

As for you, I'd (objectively) still wonder if having a historical connection would add some amount influence and/or pride to going east.

In my opinion, in order to display a scholarly convert who converted purely for being convinced of the Truth, it would be more impressive to find someone who converted out of a strongly cultural Catholic heritage.
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« Reply #84 on: April 21, 2013, 03:40:34 AM »

Are not all these scholarly converts either from an eastern heritage and/or byz cath at the time of their conversions?

It would be more impressive for an Italian scholar to change his mind.
Why more so than an Englishman, e.g. the former Timothy Ware, who had no Eastern background and was a W.A.S.P. from way back.

Just a side note: in my own case, my Eastern heritage had nothing to do my conversion, having been a Lutheran in the Middle East.

Because an English Protestant may still harbor anti-Catholic prejudice either overtly or culturally.
often claimed, but I rarely seen proven.  Not many Orthodox around who fit the "Chick pamphlet with incense and icons" bill.  And Met. Kallistos certainly doesn't-unless you have evidence to the contrary.

but if you can come up with an example, do inform us.

One might say that our English Protestant would swim the Tiber because he might still harbor some sense of Western superiority (Lord knows that is not in short supply in  Rome) either overtly or culturally.

As for you, I'd (objectively) still wonder if having a historical connection would add some amount influence and/or pride to going east.
I didn't "go East." I was East.  But if I was West, what makes you think it should?

Objectively, I just followed the historical connection to the Truth.  No doubts to nag that way.

In my opinion, in order to display a scholarly convert who converted purely for being convinced of the Truth, it would be more impressive to find someone who converted out of a strongly cultural Catholic heritage.
Ah yes, the best motive: to "impress" someone.

What about Archbishop Nathaniel Pop?  He converted out of a "strongly cultural Catholic heritage." Or does the Romanian "sui juris" church not count?
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« Reply #85 on: April 21, 2013, 05:57:21 AM »

I didn't "go East." I was East.

That sounds like something you should tell your fellow Orthodox, since many of them believe that one can't really be Eastern unless one is Orthodox.
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« Reply #86 on: April 21, 2013, 06:02:52 AM »

Eastern Christianity has Christ as its center of unity.

Now the danger with the Western approach, which advocates having a single "universal" bishop, is that the so-called supreme bishop - as the focus of unity - can alter anything within the Church on his own initiative (e.g., he could have a committee of "experts" create a whole new liturgy and then impose that monstrosity upon the whole Church by force of "law").

One might say that our English Protestant would swim the Tiber because he might still harbor some sense of Western superiority (Lord knows that is not in short supply in  Rome) either overtly or culturally.

Can you name a protestant group (English or otherwise) that advocates having a single "universal" bishop?
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« Reply #87 on: April 21, 2013, 06:42:25 AM »


Can you name a protestant group (English or otherwise) that advocates having a single "universal" bishop?

The Anglo-Papalists?
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« Reply #88 on: April 21, 2013, 07:28:26 AM »

I didn't "go East." I was East.

That sounds like something you should tell your fellow Orthodox, since many of them believe that one can't really be Eastern unless one is Orthodox.

We do not think one has to be Orthodox to be easterner. Proof is nestorians and so on were easterners but not Orthodox.
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« Reply #89 on: April 21, 2013, 07:43:46 AM »

Can you name a protestant group (English or otherwise) that advocates having a single "universal" bishop?

The Anglo-Papalists?

Don't you know a rhetorical question when you see it? 
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« Reply #90 on: April 21, 2013, 10:12:08 AM »

I didn't "go East." I was East.

That sounds like something you should tell your fellow Orthodox, since many of them believe that one can't really be Eastern unless one is Orthodox.
I'm not worried about cultural prejudices in the matter.  I'm concerned more with getting all my fellow Orthodox acknowledge the fact that one can really be Orthodox without being Eastern.  WRO and all that.
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« Reply #91 on: April 21, 2013, 02:14:00 PM »

There have been a number of Lutheran scholars who have converted to Catholicism in the past two decades or so (most famously Richard John Neuhaus, Robert Wilken, and Reinhard Hütter, but a list of others may be found here: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/tim-drake/the-lutheran-landslide). One could speculate about why they chose Catholicism (maybe, in part, they came to see early Lutheranism as a reform movement within Catholicism?), but as a group they've been fairly reticient. I wonder if younger scholars aren't reluctant to publish confessional-style articles, for fear that their objectivity as historians/theologians will be called into question.

For the irenic among us, I ran across this hommage to Jaroslav Pelikan and his conversion to Orthodoxy by his student and friend, Robert Wilken (http://danutm.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/wilken-robert-l-jaroslav-pelikan-and-the-road-to-orthodoxy.pdf). In my mind, Wilken is a first-rate patristics scholar; not as prolific as Pelikan, but I've found his work just as helpful. Wilken converted from Lutheranism to Catholicism, Pelikan to Orthodoxy. A tidbit from the piece:

'On that last day I saw him alive, he raised the possibility of writing a book together if he had time. He wanted me as a Westerner to write on the Eastern church fathers, and he as an Easterner to write on the Western church fathers. This did not make much sense to me, because as former Lutherans we were both westerners. I said a more interesting book would be why he as a Lutheran became Orthodox and why I as a Lutheran became Roman Catholic. He agreed, but alas, he died six weeks later.'
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« Reply #92 on: April 21, 2013, 02:21:52 PM »

Mein Weg zur Orthodoxie - Prof. Dr. Karl Christian Felmy (9.12.2012)

Unfortunately I couldn't find much about him in English. Anyway, he's a Lutheran scholar who converted to Orthodoxy.

Here are some of his books.
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« Reply #93 on: April 21, 2013, 02:28:02 PM »

I didn't "go East." I was East.

That sounds like something you should tell your fellow Orthodox, since many of them believe that one can't really be Eastern unless one is Orthodox.

We do not think one has to be Orthodox to be easterner.

Well, you'll notice that I said "many" Orthodox think that, not "most".

I didn't "go East." I was East.

That sounds like something you should tell your fellow Orthodox, since many of them believe that one can't really be Eastern unless one is Orthodox.
I'm not worried about cultural prejudices in the matter.  I'm concerned more with getting all my fellow Orthodox acknowledge the fact that one can really be Orthodox without being Eastern.  WRO and all that.

Come to think of it, I would like to see that too. Smiley
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« Reply #94 on: April 21, 2013, 03:17:41 PM »

One suggestion.  When mentioning examples, perhaps it would be better if you please copy the core argument from the pages as I did...I think it makes it easier to see...Just a suggestion, no need to follow it if you don't feel like it.

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« Reply #95 on: April 21, 2013, 04:18:03 PM »

It's difficult to find contemporary theologians who are trying to do theology in service to the church who offer an outright defense for becoming Catholic instead of Orthodox. I think this is because such a defense would work against the stated purpose of the Catholic church, which is to restore full communion (however dim the prospects in the near future), rather than proselytize individual Orthodox.  Thus, according to Balamand, while the rights of individual converts are respected, 'Pastoral activity in the Catholic Church, Latin as well as Oriental, no longer aims at having the faithful of one Church pass over to the other; that is to say, it no longer aims at proselytizing among the Orthodox. It aims at answering the spiritual needs of its own faithful and it has no desire for expansion at the expense of the Orthodox Church.' (Balamand)

Given this situation, it would be surprising to find converts to Catholicism offering anything but the most mild criticisms of Orthodoxy, and then only with the greatest respect, so as not to exacerbate divisions.

Aidan Nichols, OP, is a convert to Catholicism from Anglicanism. In his talk 'A Catholic View of Orthodoxy' (Nichols article), he speaks very highly of Orthodoxy for three sections, and offers some criticisms in the fourth. These may provide some clue as to why he became Catholic. I won't quote the negative section out of context, as I think it wouldn't be in the spirit of the article.
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« Reply #96 on: April 21, 2013, 04:59:53 PM »

I probably overstated the Catholic church's position above on the importance of ecumenical dialogue in relation to individual conversions vis a vis the Orthodox, and now I can't seem to modify the post. But I do think the point still stands: theologians who work in service to the Church are unlikely to publish anything that might be seen as triumphalistic to the Orthodox.
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« Reply #97 on: April 21, 2013, 05:07:23 PM »

An example for a Lutheran theologian having converted to Orthodoxy in Germany would be Karl Christian (Vassily) Felmy, professor emeritus of theology and former Lutheran minister. He has since been ordained an Orthodox deacon.
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« Reply #98 on: April 21, 2013, 07:38:10 PM »

Well, where does modern science come from? Not Mount Athos- it comes from Western philosophers who were very much steeped in "Augustinian" Christianity and all its attendant maladies.

That's a popular misconception.
Western science is in fact based on overcoming theoretical philosophy and referring to experimental empiricism instead.

What's the misconception? Are you denying that Francis Bacon, Isaac Newton, etc. were part of the "Franco-Latin" Christian tradition? Whether their new methods were in continuation or in rupture with that tradition, they were still coming out of it.

Furthermore, experimental empiricism was in fact a fairly logical outgrowth of the Aristotelian metaphysics that dominated Latin Christianity. The current scientific methodology, however revolutionary it seemed in the face of the ossified Aristotelian doctrines of the middle ages, was really a reworking/ revision of Aristotelian principles in many ways.

And it is still very far away from Orthodox principles of natural contemplation (see Sts. Maximus, Gregory of Sinai, Nikitas Stithatos, etc.)
yes, because SS. Maximus, Gregory of Sinai etc. were not interested in the physical structure of nature, anymore than empirical science is interested in its noetic structure.
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« Reply #99 on: April 22, 2013, 12:07:56 AM »

Quote
Archbishop Peter was born as Paul L'Huillier on December 3, 1926, in Paris, France. He embraced the Orthodox faith in 1945 while enrolled at the St. Denys Institute in Paris. L'Huillier also did graduate work at the University of Paris...Abp. Peter's linguistic fluency (in four languages), his formal degree in the Orthodox canonical traditions, his familiarity with varieties of ethnic and national Orthodox customs, made him one of the more academically involved Orthodox hierarchs worldwide. He also chaired the OCA's External Affairs Department for many years.
http://orthodoxwiki.org/Peter_(L%27Huillier)_of_New_York
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« Reply #100 on: April 22, 2013, 09:10:06 AM »

Are not all these scholarly converts either from an eastern heritage and/or byz cath at the time of their conversions?

It would be more impressive for an Italian scholar to change his mind.
Why more so than an Englishman, e.g. the former Timothy Ware, who had no Eastern background and was a W.A.S.P. from way back.

Just a side note: in my own case, my Eastern heritage had nothing to do my conversion, having been a Lutheran in the Middle East.

Because an English Protestant may still harbor anti-Catholic prejudice either overtly or culturally.
often claimed, but I rarely seen proven.  Not many Orthodox around who fit the "Chick pamphlet with incense and icons" bill.  And Met. Kallistos certainly doesn't-unless you have evidence to the contrary.

but if you can come up with an example, do inform us.

One might say that our English Protestant would swim the Tiber because he might still harbor some sense of Western superiority (Lord knows that is not in short supply in  Rome) either overtly or culturally.

As for you, I'd (objectively) still wonder if having a historical connection would add some amount influence and/or pride to going east.
I didn't "go East." I was East.  But if I was West, what makes you think it should?

Objectively, I just followed the historical connection to the Truth.  No doubts to nag that way.

In my opinion, in order to display a scholarly convert who converted purely for being convinced of the Truth, it would be more impressive to find someone who converted out of a strongly cultural Catholic heritage.
Ah yes, the best motive: to "impress" someone.

What about Archbishop Nathaniel Pop?  He converted out of a "strongly cultural Catholic heritage." Or does the Romanian "sui juris" church not count?

You beat me to it, and I would add a few more including the  priests who led countless thousands to Orthodoxy - the one time rector of the Greek Catholic seminary and Diocesan Chancellor  in Presov, Slovakia who came to America St. Alexis Toth and the Greek Catholic pastor of what was the largest Greek Catholic parish of its day St.John the Baptist in Bridgeport,Ct - Fr., later Bishop,Orestes Chornock.
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« Reply #101 on: April 22, 2013, 09:21:44 AM »



Graduated at the Catholic University of Liblin in Catholic theology. He's currently my rector.
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« Reply #102 on: April 22, 2013, 12:23:31 PM »

Well, where does modern science come from? Not Mount Athos- it comes from Western philosophers who were very much steeped in "Augustinian" Christianity and all its attendant maladies.

That's a popular misconception.
Western science is in fact based on overcoming theoretical philosophy and referring to experimental empiricism instead.

What's the misconception? Are you denying that Francis Bacon, Isaac Newton, etc. were part of the "Franco-Latin" Christian tradition? Whether their new methods were in continuation or in rupture with that tradition, they were still coming out of it.

Furthermore, experimental empiricism was in fact a fairly logical outgrowth of the Aristotelian metaphysics that dominated Latin Christianity. The current scientific methodology, however revolutionary it seemed in the face of the ossified Aristotelian doctrines of the middle ages, was really a reworking/ revision of Aristotelian principles in many ways.

And it is still very far away from Orthodox principles of natural contemplation (see Sts. Maximus, Gregory of Sinai, Nikitas Stithatos, etc.)
yes, because SS. Maximus, Gregory of Sinai etc. were not interested in the physical structure of nature

Not exactly. See, for instance, the opening section of St. Gregory Palamas' 150 Chapters.

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« Reply #103 on: April 22, 2013, 08:20:00 PM »

Have in mind that I believe that Orthodox Christianity is "the Way" the only true succession of Apostolic teachings...Here I am presenting "both side" with hope to seeing reasons of the mentioned individuals can provide an answer to the OP. Bolding is done by me.

Here is one example of chosing Roman Catholicism:
Cardinal John Henry Newman
http://credo.stormloader.com/Ecumenic/newmaneo.htm

In his remarkable volume "Newman to Converts: An Existential Ecclesiology", Real View Books, 2001, Fr. Stanley Jaki has provided key excerpts from Newman’s voluminous private correspondence where one finds the Oratorian, answering the queries of many troubled Anglicans. (Pages from this volume follow unless otherwise indicated). Some sought to find justification for their Branch Theory of the Church by an appeal to the not insignificant numbers of Greek and Russian Orthodox Christians or were tempted to join the separated Eastern Orthodox communion as the "true Church".

Now there's some nice unbiased fact-reporting. :roll eyes to indicate sarcasm:

(Of course, I'm probably not "supposed" to complain about it ... loyalty to Likoudis because he's a fellow Catholic or whatever ... but what are you gonna do?  Cool)
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« Reply #104 on: May 05, 2013, 10:37:53 PM »

I listen to "The Journey Home" on EWTN. It's a wonderful program hosted by Marcus Grodi where he interviews converts to Catholicism.

This isn't the first time I've heard a non-Catholic say they like that show -- indeed I've many times had said experience -- and yet it never fails to amaze me.

I'm a lifelong Catholic, and I've basically never liked The Journey Home -- and I'm including the times of my life when I was more conservative, more traditionalist, less ecumenical, or a much bigger fan of EWTN in general, than I am now.

I never liked it either and I really wonder how many cradle Catholics do.  It seems to me like a lot of a hot air blowing and "me me me" stories.  I understand that for converts it can be an invaluable source of, "I'm not so alone," but it reeks of triumphalism to me.
Lots of followers of the Vatican from the cradle like triumphalism. (Lots of cradle Orthodox do as well).

The triumphalism I'm talking about is the convert's own apparent triumphalism (as in, "I found the true church!") and not the regular variety, if you follow me. 

I think a lot of cradles do actually eat that stuff up, although I'm not entirely sure why.

I've listened to more than a handful of episodes, and I am beginning to see the criticisms that the above posters have made about the program. I still like it, though.

The show does tend to represent a very conservative mainstream Roman Catholicism, with which I, naturally, do not identify. However, I can appreciate the sincere conversion stories of the guests because I'm also a convert (from a non-Christian faith) and it's interesting to hear about the hurdles that people go through (usually "There's Something About Mary," since most guests are former protestants).

 I suppose one could accuse certain guests (and maybe the show as a whole) as being "triumphalist," but I don't really see that as my place. I cannot question the sincerity of someone who is courageously stepping forward and telling their faith journey to the world. If I were in the same room as some of these guests, I might try to gently remind them that we all owe our lives to God, that we have not "earned" anything, and I'm sure they would agree. I guess I was able to notice this attitude early on and regard it as a "natural" reaction to entering into "the fullness of Faith." Listening to similar programs on Ancient Faith Radio, I can certainly confirm that this attitude is not exclusive to Roman Catholic converts.

It's true that cradle Catholics like the show; that's because they're excited to see newcomers bring new life into their precious Church. I don't think they're consciously looking for dumb converts to confirm their own convictions; it really is inspiring to see someone go through a journey and "make the choice" to live the life that you had the privilege of knowing since birth. At my baptism this weekend, I heard this sort of thing from many cradle Orthodox, and I was very grateful to be God's instrument in perhaps strengthening their faith.

Now, one thing I definitely don't like about the show is how completely dismissive of Orthodoxy it is. Obviously I can't expect a mainstream Roman Catholic radio program to paint a realistic portrait of Orthodoxy, but some of the comments I've heard from both the guests and the host have been truly appalling. Basically, we Orthodox are seen as nothing more than a loose grouping of congregational ethnic churches with no internal agreement. We probably also smell bad.

There was an Eastern Catholic guest early on, and I was amazed that no one seemed to know about the Non-Latin Rites. Naturally, Orthodoxy was just glazed over during that episode.  Angry
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« Reply #105 on: May 06, 2013, 03:26:16 PM »

I've listened to more than a handful of episodes, and I am beginning to see the criticisms that the above posters have made about the program. I still like it, though.

Well, who's to say, I could be way off here. To me, Grodi generally (on those ocassions when I watch, which are usually not by choice) comes across as pretty full of himself, but that's just one person's subjective take on it.

Basically, we Orthodox are seen as nothing more than a loose grouping of congregational ethnic churches with no internal agreement.

What you mean you're not?  Shocked
 laugh No, but seriously I recent heard someone saying just that (and repeating it over and over  Roll Eyes).

There was an Eastern Catholic guest early on, and I was amazed that no one seemed to know about the Non-Latin Rites.

Unfortunate, but not terribly surprizing. After all, Eastern Catholics make up less than 2% of Catholics overall, and less than 1% of US Catholics.
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« Reply #106 on: May 06, 2013, 08:40:55 PM »

Well, who's to say, I could be way off here. To me, Grodi generally (on those ocassions when I watch, which are usually not by choice) comes across as pretty full of himself, but that's just one person's subjective take on it.
I think Grodi, from time to time, succumbs to the same "triumphalism" to which we're all at risk. I think more often he notices that the dialogue is heading in an unhealthy direction and makes a stand. "We're not here to demean our protestant brothers and sisters." I guess one could interpret his caveats as mere lip service to keep non-Catholic listeners, but I believe that he's being sincere in those moments of clarity.

If I were to charge anyone as being full of themselves (and in doing so, bring judgement on myself), it would be some of the guests on his show. I struggled a lot with determining whether Rome or Orthodoxy is "The Church," until I eventually realized that if people much smarter and holier than me couldn't solve the problem, I certainly wasn't. Ultimately, I went with the Church to which I felt God was leading me. Sometimes I get the sense that the guest thinks he's achieved absolute epistemological certainty, that anyone who researches as much as they did will naturally come to the conclusion that Rome is the one and only option. And then when some calls in to ask what they thought about Orthodoxy, they rely on some vague outdated stereotype to make it a non-issue. I guess that's what prompted this thread.

What you mean you're not?  Shocked
 laugh No, but seriously I recent heard someone saying just that (and repeating it over and over  Roll Eyes).

I've never met anyone in person who believes that, pretty much because everyone I've met hasn't heard of Orthodoxy. The few Catholic priests I've spoken to were very ecumenical and encouraged me to enter the Church that felt right for me (I think once they saw I was serious about apostolic succession, they knew I was in the right "zone").

Unfortunate, but not terribly surprizing. After all, Eastern Catholics make up less than 2% of Catholics overall, and less than 1% of US Catholics.

I feel for you guys. This weekend I learned that even some Orthodox haven't heard about our Eastern Catholic brothers and sisters. I tried looking for literature on Eastern Catholics, and there's practically nothing out there.

As Supreme Ultimate Cool Guy of the World, I command that all Eastern Christians to put aside their silly papal squabbles and name-calling for just a moment and form like Voltron into an unstoppable Western-bias-crushing-Eastern-knowledge-spreading robot with lasers.
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« Reply #107 on: May 07, 2013, 07:51:03 AM »


As Supreme Ultimate Cool Guy of the World, I command that all Eastern Christians to put aside their silly papal squabbles and name-calling for just a moment and form like Voltron into an unstoppable Western-bias-crushing-Eastern-knowledge-spreading robot with lasers.
POM nomination for mentioning Voltron.
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« Reply #108 on: May 07, 2013, 04:48:29 PM »

Unfortunate, but not terribly surprizing. After all, Eastern Catholics make up less than 2% of Catholics overall, and less than 1% of US Catholics.

I feel for you guys.

You mean you feel for Catholics generally, or just the 2% who are Eastern?
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« Reply #109 on: May 07, 2013, 04:55:17 PM »

I tried looking for literature on Eastern Catholics, and there's practically nothing out there.

American Eastern Catholics by Fred J. Saato
The Byzantine Rite: A Short History by Robert Taft SJ
Eastern Catholics in the United States of America by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
The Eastern Catholic Churches: An Introduction to Their Worship and Spirituality by Joan L. Roccasalvo
The Eastern Catholic Churches - A Brief Survey by Ronald Roberson CSP
The Other Catholics: Obedient and Faithful by Joseph Bonchonsky

Not sure how many are currently in print, but there are your pointers. Smiley
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« Reply #110 on: May 07, 2013, 05:54:48 PM »

As Supreme Ultimate Cool Guy of the World, I command that all Eastern Christians to put aside their silly papal squabbles and name-calling for just a moment and form like Voltron into an unstoppable Western-bias-crushing-Eastern-knowledge-spreading robot with lasers.
POM nomination for mentioning Voltron.
But just try telling that to the Irish.
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« Reply #111 on: May 07, 2013, 07:39:32 PM »

Unfortunate, but not terribly surprizing. After all, Eastern Catholics make up less than 2% of Catholics overall, and less than 1% of US Catholics.

I feel for you guys.

You mean you feel for Catholics generally, or just the 2% who are Eastern?

Well, I meant just Eastern Catholics, but it's not like I don't care about Western Catholics. They just don't really need that much publicity anymore.

Thanks for the book recs, Arachne.
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