Some would take Orthodox claims to be the one true Church in an exclusive rather than an inclusive sense, so that outside the canonical limits of the Orthodox Church as we currently perceive them there is simply undifferentiated darkness, in which the pope is no better than a witchdoctor. How are we to evaluate these
conflicting views? The exclusive view today claims to represent true Orthodoxy, traditional Orthodox... It has developed in the West, and it has thrived in the West, indeed here in the United States, especially in Greek Old Calendarist circles (including several monasteries in the United States) and in the closely allied Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (headquartered on East 93rd Street in New York City).
Poppycock. Name me one official ROCOR document--quote me even one priest currently in ROCOR for that matter!--who believes that "the pope is little better than a witchdoctor" or anything of the like! This is polemical nonsense, plain and simple. It's like Met. Herman's (OCA) recent comment that ROCOR was not in communion with any Orthodox Church, when he knows full well that we concelebrate and commune with both the Serbs and Jerusalem Patriarchate (besides 3 other Orthodox bodies). How can educated people make these types of claims!?
Patrick Barnes' The Non-Orthodox
is a good exposition of what traditionalist Orthodox (like those in ROCOR, anyway) really believe. The thing is, it's this type of article that gets traditionalists all fired up, because it is so amazingly inflamatory and rude, not to mention intellectually dishonest. Unfortunately, all people seem to notice is the fiery traditionalist rebuttal, not the original article which prompted the rebuttal. Thus Orthodoxinfo continues to get ridiculed today, even though they've taken down probably more than half of the confrontational material, and they have put new calendar saints/readings up on the site for each day. No matter--their reputation proceeds them, they are just one of those nasty traditionalist sites ran by a crazy convert in that quasi-canonical, but pretty-much-schismatic ROCOR group.
PS. I just want to add that, one of the reasons this has me so fired up is exactly because I don't
think ROCOR and other so-called (or self-called) traditionalist bodies are the only "true Orthodox" bodies. I look foward to the day that ROCOR is in communion with the OCA, Antiochians, etc. I imagine all Christians want such unity. But this will be hard to come by with all the polemics in the air. And I dislike people attributing to me beliefs I don't hold. I've held to A LOT of DUMB things over the years, but I have NEVER looked at my Catholic Grand Mother or Uncle and considered them little more than pagans. Quite the contrary, I've always considered my now-deceased Catholic Grand Father to have been the best man I have ever known.
PSS. I edited some things out that I shouldn't have made, because they were uncharitable (sarcastic and accusatory). Perhaps now is a good time to at least attempt
to take time off for Lent.