I would agree. But I would also contend that it's foolish to believe that Orthodoxy doesn't have similar divides.
We should probably define those terms a bit more clearly if we're going to talk about such divides as they relate to Orthodoxy. I will be the first to admit that my experience in this area is rather limited, living in an area where the nearest OO church besides the one I attend is approximately 600 miles away in another state (and is also a Coptic church...and also the home church of one of the priests who also serves us here in Albuquerque), but from what I have observed in the life of my own parish does not quite map on to what generally passes for 'liberal' or 'conservative' in the RCC (where I actually had much more exposure to a variety of parishes than I have had in Orthodoxy). We certainly have politically
conservative and liberal members (and the fights over whether Obama is good, bad, or the antichrist can get rather heated), but as you say below, the liturgical life is the great equalizer. We do not disagree or break down into liberal/conservative factions concerning the liturgy, theology, ecclesiology, etc. of the Church. As you say, the liturgical life of the Church is the great equalizer in many ways. Those of the Roman communion, on the other hand, often do disagree about these things, such that I myself was told (after becoming sick of the banality of the N.O. Latins) that if I wanted a more traditional/reverent liturgy, I should attend the local Ruthenian Catholic Church (this was back in Oregon, and I did that, and it was not good). I cannot imagine being told such a thing in any OO church -- "Oh, you don't like the liturgy as it is served where you are? That's not a problem, just go to another one somewhere else". Of course, I am assuming
this wouldn't happen, because at least in theory (and in my experience, in practice), liturgical aberrations are
seen as a problem, even if they are sometimes handled more slowly than those who suffer them would like (e.g., the recent committee sent to investigate D.C.-area Coptic churches has apparently been a long time coming, according to people I've talked to who have actually attended those churches). The RCC situation creates a context in which conservative and liberal wings are instead reinforced, such that now there are "Traditionalist" Catholics versus...other Catholics, I suppose. I guess you could make a similar example of Old Calendarists vs. other Orthodox, but if there is such a wide divide between Old Calendarists and others (in terms of praxis and theology) as there is between "Traditionalist" and other Catholics, I don't know about it (and I kind of doubt it, but either way this is not our fight as OO; I only put this bit in my reply to hopefully preempt that sort of reply).
The liturgical life of the Church is, in some ways, the great equaliser, but still, we have our liberal and conservative factions. Perhaps that is seen more in some regions or local Churches than in others, but it is there in spite of our Church not "being all things to all people".
Well, people are people everywhere, of course. That doesn't vary according to jurisdiction. But my point is more that while such things are not emphasized or reinforced in Orthodoxy, they are
in the Roman communion, precisely because of a theological or philosophical belief held by many in the Latin Church that, for instance, Byzantines and Latins and all manner of Syriacs, Copts, etc. can coexist under one banner ("Catholic"), so long as they submit to Roman ecclesiology (you will notice, I hope, that "Catholicity" across that communion is defined by communion with the Roman Pope and submission to his ultimate universal authority and jurisdiction, rather than Rome's communion with its various Eastern compatriots; this is an ecclesiological and in some sense theological matter for them, while it is heresy to the Orthodox). This is what I mean when I write negatively against Rome's attempt to be all things to all people. In more modern times it has also grown to include many who do not affirm Christ at all...but that's probably a subject for another discussion. My point is that the impulse is the same in any case: We can all be in communion with Rome, since Rome subsumes many different theologies, political views, etc. and simply declares them to be compatible with one another. How could this do anything but water down the central beliefs of the Christian faith? I don't mean to sound paranoid, but I think this is about something much deeper than political differences such as we might find in our churches, or even whether some people are okay with drums and keyboards in the liturgy and some are not or whatever (though this does
matter to me, but again...another conversation). I think that as concerns Rome specifically, they have been separated from Orthodoxy for long enough that we are actually looking at ontological
differences that divide us. Even a very reverent and traditional (whatever that means in a Latin context; I'll let them fight that out amongst themselves) Latin liturgy is unacceptable for the various doctrinal innovations added to it, even though it might be nicer to listen to or observe or whatever. We may see a particular Roman Pope as more or less traditional or reverent or whatever, but in either case we're not talking about St. Arsenius or Sts. Maximus and Domatius. Let's not lose sight of Roman Orthodoxy in a rush to get excited over spectres of a more nuanced ecclesiology on the part of a particular modern Latin Pope. 'Liberal' or 'Conservative', they're still worlds apart from Orthodoxy, and the reliance on having liberal or conservative wings in their communion does nothing but hinder their return to the Orthodox faith.
I think it speaks to a depth of character, you don't think it matters. Very well. But we're obviously making those opinions from different vantage points.
Though I agree that taste generally is a subjective matter, beauty is not.
Really? I'm not in agreement with that as a general principle, though I think within the context in which you're probably thinking of it (based on what I've read in your other posts), I can at least see where you're coming from. This Pope is probably not spending much time watching the Kardashians or reading Twitter or whatever. He has refined tastes that speak to a certain depth of character compared to the sort of base mass culture that most people have been inculcated to accept as normative. (Am I close? I'm really trying to see how this means something/why I should care.)
And I disagree that papabili are going to have good Latin skills. They might be able to read it with the proper pronunciation but to pray it? Card. Dolan of New York was considered papabile, and he doesn't strike me as a better candidate than this Pope based on Latin or anything else.
I'm not sure that candidates are considered better or worse according to their Latin abilities in the first place (though you'd think it would certainly come in handy, I'm sure there are many translators at the Vatican to vet anything prior to promulgation), but yeah...I agree, hence my original post said "in general" (in the same way that it wouldn't be ludicrous to assume that a Syriac bishop probably has a better grasp of that language than most laypeople he serves, though there may be exceptions; I don't want to put too much emphasis on this ultimately minor point).
Okay. He's not doing that, either. You can't be Orthodox outside of the Church. Believe me, I've tried.
A false dichotomy.
Okay, well it wasn't in my case.
How do we imagine the RCC returning to the Church? Will they one day submit an official statement renouncing their errors and accepting Orthodoxy without having changed anything in their ecclesiastical life up to that point? Or will the body as a whole, much like an individual, make gradual changes toward the goal of joining? No, you can't be Orthodox outside the Church, but everyone starts somewhere to reform their life according to the principles of the gospel and the norms of the Church, even when they are outside looking in.
Are you perhaps reading something into this portion of my reply that isn't there? Or perhaps I have misunderstood you. When you wrote that we should want him to return to the Orthodox position, I took that to mean that you view his more nuanced ecclesiology as a positive step in that direction. I agree, though I would add that his more theologically conservative predecessor made even more seemingly pro-Orthodox statements when he was cardinal (unfortunately I don't hang around Latins enough these days to have a source at hand, but one that was quoted to me said, paraphrasing from memory, that "we (Westerners/Latins) cannot expect more from the East than was accepted by them in the first millennium" -- see, it is
possible to speak plainly regarding these issues). At any rate, where I disagree, if I am reading you correctly, is that by virtue of making such statements, he is de facto
moving towards Orthodoxy. We will perhaps wait and see, but I am of the opinion as of today that nothing said in the interview substantiates such hope. This is sort of what I was getting at in a tongue-in-cheek way when I mentioned before that they would gladly give me communion if I would attend an RC mass. To read Rome's guidelines concerning who can receive, you'd think we were practically in communion already. This is one of the reasons why they paint us in apologetic texts as being not as welcoming or brotherly as they are, and I suppose that's right, if the chalice defines the boundaries of the common faith. I know that for Orthodoxy it does, but again, to tie it back in with the overall theme of Rome being all things to all people, I'm not sure that this is the case with regard to our Latin friends. For this reason, I don't want to downplay any positive development, but I do want to be cautious and actually see how it develops before getting excited that Pope Francis has actually made such a sea change to what it means to be Roman Catholic. I don't think he has. I think much of his message is jumbled, and that this mess is only partially the fault of the media. And, most importantly, I think only Orthodoxy is Orthodoxy
. The doors of the Church are open, and I for one await and encourage the return of the Latins, but will not count them as Orthodox until they actually are (whether Pope or layperson).
We say they are heretical and outside the Church, but when they as an institution appear to make progress on certain things, we shoot them down in a way we'd never shoot down an individual.
No, no. I see that's how you've taken my words (and I apologize then, as that's not what I mean), but I mean to encourage what I think is good and discourage what I think is not good. Now of course I could be and probably am wrong on any number of points, since I am new to all this and not gifted with the special charism of infallibility (
), but anything I have written in this thread was meant to be in favor of skepticism, not denunciation. They're not the same thing. And honestly, if I seem more skeptical than others (or sharper in my skepticism or whatever), it's only because I've been there, and like I said I don't think Rome is a healthy place to be, as it is. But if it is getting better (and there are signs that it is, certainly, though I don't really see them in the interview under discussion like you do), then good. What could be better than coming to have more in common with our long-estranged Latin friends? But let's not put the cart before the horse, as it were. And let's not forget that friendly gestures are nice, but true doctrinal agreement (such as is recognized by both
sides on an official level, not just Latins who would like us to admit how we really believe the same things but are stubborn or whatever) is the hard but necessary goal, and will not be reached by a few agreeable words (according to one interpretation) in an unabashedly pro-'Rome as it is' magazine.
That just means you're not spiritually schizophrenic.
a relief. Can I get that on some sort of frameable certificate?