Western Rite Critic

A Balance to Contagious Enthusiasm

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Two Orthodox priests, formerly from the Charismatic Episcopal Church:

“We’re not trying to bring some Convergence Movement into Orthodoxy – not in any way. We’re Orthodox Christians, and we’re grateful for how that movement maybe helped bring us here to this place.” – Fr. John Denny Roland, True Convergence Orthodox Podcast #3

“The reason there’s not been a pentecostal charismatic renewal movement within Orthodoxy is because of a healthy and robust theology of the Holy Spirit. I think what began this distintegration… was the theology of the (filioque) which results in a very weak doctrine of the Holy Spirit.” – Fr. Patrick Cardine, Ibid.


January 18, 2008 - Posted by | -- Charismaticism, Western Rite Quotes | , , , , , , , ,


  1. A.S.S. (clever moniker, btw): It comes from a story. I don’t remember it very well, but it’s something like this: During the liturgy, the altar server perceived that the priest was doing several things incorrectly. He would have said something to the priest, but there was an angel behind the altar, observing the whole thing. When the priest went out to greet the people, and the altar server remained, he asked the angel, “Did you see what the priest did?” The angel said, “Yes, I saw.” The altar server: “You’re an angel. Why didn’t you stop him or say anything?” The angel replied, “Even an angel wouldn’t dare to correct a priest.”

    These things are difficult in this forum, because we are dealing with issues that divide, and are often fighting to unite in the truth, rather than let the divisions destroy us. And obviously, this is perceived differently by various people. Also, we are faced with strong disagreement with clergy, and even having to face the appeal to authority as a fallacy, and not cooperate even with priests. This is a somber thing, and grievous, and wounds the soul, and there really is no answer, no platitude to fix it. It is like a death in that way. But it is the reality of where the Church is right now, that this is necessary. As necessary as at Florence. As necessary as with Sergius. What can we do? We are afraid to stand with priests who seem to oppose the Church by oppposing the very ecclesiology, or doctrine of the Church.

    First, forgive me for judging you; I was rushing to defend the dignity of those two priests, almost instinctively. Second, I cannot really tell you how to think/act; after all, I could easily be accused of just such disrespect. What I think is this: here, we have to preserve an atmosphere of open and free discussion, with dignity and respect, but also enough respect for the other person’s intellect to disagree, freely, and refuse to accept inadequate answers. This is an arena, if you will, in which those who enter are accepting these conditions. But I think we can do it with dignity, and a minimum of slapping our opponents around. I just felt your comment in that one instance, was a little too much like that, and added my own voice to it. But forgive me for wounding you; and please feel free to continue to participate; your contributions have been generally thoughtful and good.

    Comment by tuD | January 25, 2008 | Reply

  2. ” Also, Fr. Patrick is a priest and I might disagree with him (I don’t in this case), and say so, but even an angel wouldn’t dare to correct a priest.”

    I am not sure where you get that exactly, this may be an aspect of your personal piety, and that is fair enough.

    But if the facts which possibly contravene an argument are evident, it is reasonable to bring them forth. This seems to be happening with other parties in this combox.

    Comment by asimplesinner | January 25, 2008 | Reply

  3. Father Mark: In reference to this and your other comment on the matter in a different post:

    What would it serve to provide, as you request, the birth name, biographic details, home addresses, Bishops names, home parishes, associates, etc. of any or all critics of the Western Rite, except to provide one more thing to distract from the issues. You’ve indicated that you’re interested not in reasonable discussion, but only in continuing in the line of fallacies that surrounds the enthusiasm for the WR like a fog:

    * Appeal to Authority: Insisting it’s good, because “piles of my authorities say it’s good” (Citing some hierarchs and clergy who do, and some legendary appeals to those who most certainly did not, but irrelevant to the questions at hand, in any case. Also known as appeal to pronouncements). Indeed the obsession with authorities indicates many of the problems already indicated in Western thinking, and with how and to what may converts believe they are converting.
    * Straw Man: Claiming “You oppose us because of ethnicity, prejudice, pride…” (Dismissing your opponents outright, rather than proceeding with rational discussion of the issues actually being raised). Strange that your will engage in every manner of dialogue with those who are not of our Faith, but when it comes to Western Rite, there’s a moratorium on reasoning through it.
    * Ad Hominem: Going after the man: “Well, of course you’re Greek, hateful, prideful, Russian, a member of this, a thinker of that.” (Again, substituting personality for the questions being raised, and demonstrating the very prejudice and pride you presume to identify in others).

    Shameful. And you expect others to ‘make the conversation more meaningful’ if they’re ‘outed’ for you, so you can continue this behavior? No, a far more reasonable discussion can occur if one doesn’t feed diversions; it’s a far greater gift to the Orthodox community to preserve a place where one opinion cannot make itself into a faction by trying to silence or pidgeonhole the other. We must conduct ourselves like men. This place will remain a place of free inquiry, and we’ll take the lead by example, providing you no dismissable target, or back channels of squashing discussion.

    If you want to participate in rational discourse here, you’re welcome. We trust this means not just making appeal to inadequate pronouncements full of doublespeak, sales bullets, and mythology, or falsely stereotyping opponents and arguments in ways that feed the illusion of self-righteousness, rather than attributing to your opponents the sincerity of reasoned arguments and concerns of conscience, and not simply arguing against the man, which anyone could do, if he’s willing to leap into the abyss of pride and personality attacks. We’ll be civilized here, and respect the discussion, not use it as a cloak for whatever we’re going to do anyway, and we invite you to the same.

    If your reasoned, sound arguments can vindicate the things that are going on, then it will do the people of God a service, and you will prevail, and I will applaud you and speak on your behalf. If, however, only fallacies can defend your positions, only non sequitur, then your positions won’t stand, and they will be shown to be against Christ, and then you can only be a Christian by turning away from them like the plow and changing your mind. As has been said repeatedly, these are then matters of Faith, and also of our own faith. How about it? I’m willing to change my mind, if I’m wrong. Are you? Or will this be more of the above bullets?

    Comment by tuD | January 24, 2008 | Reply

  4. Dear tuD,

    Yes, I am “that Mark” of the podcasts. To sign-on and write a comment on WordPress, one must be officially logged in, as everyone knows. What you don’t know is that I had established an account with WordPress over a year ago, when I was “Father Mark” in the CEC. I did not wish to open a new account for one post, when I knew I was going to be ordained within a matter of days. Bishop BASIL ordained me a priest yesterday, (1/21/08) as a matter of fact. So, please forgive the appearance of arrogance by my posting as “Father.” I meant no deceit. Was I sinning by being too lazy to open a new account….by all means…mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

    Have you had the opportunity to ever talk to one of these “wet behind the ears” ex-CEC priests to hear their heart? To know where they’re coming from? Do you know what THEY believe, or only what you’ve heard others say they believe? I don’t think you have met and talked face to face with any of us. What gives you any special knowledge or experience to pontificate against us?

    Let me tell you that last year, I specifically told Bishop BASIL that I love the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. I love the Byzantine traditions. Yet, I am a Westerner. I grew up in Texas and Oklahoma. I’m Scotch by heritage. I’m not Russian, Syrian, Lebanese, Greek, etc. etc. But I have come to Holy Orthodoxy with no agenda. Yet, because I knew the Western Rite existed, I asked His Grace which direction did he believe that God wanted us to go in…East or West. He then directed me to begin working on building a Western Rite Orthodox parish.

    Forgive me for pulling quotes from Vladyka John apparently out of context. Forgive me for appealing as a “neo-papist” to all the other authority figures of the AA. So please teach me. Please instruct this ignorant new priest, as to how I am to understand the affirmations of the Western Rite given by not only the Holy Synod of Antioch, but the Holy Synods of Romania, and Moscow?

    Now that you know who I am and where I live and what I do…would you please identify yourself?

    Comment by Father Mark | January 23, 2008 | Reply

  5. Father Mark: Since I consider Vladyka John to be to the Saint that this forum is meant to honor, I feel compelled, after a few moments of reflection, to respond to your comments about St. John. The citing of Vladyka as an endorsement of the WRV in the AA is simply inaccurate. St. John favored a single Orthodox jurisdiction in the US that could be Western Rite. And indeed the first jurisdiction as such, in the US, was founded with the Western Rite, but it was not the AA. See the timeline. The implications of St. John’s thinking, imo, indicate a need for a pan-Orthodox discussion and solution, and not a unilateral one that claims to inherit from him a solution I don’t think he would like as much. This is the fallacy of appeal to celebrity.

    Incidentally, are you Mark from the convergence broadcasts mentioned in this post? If so, my understanding is that, as of this date, you are not a priest, but shortly will be. Signing on with the monniker “Father Mark”, if that is you, should be of concern to you as well as to us, if you really see ordination not as a formality, but in the full light of Orthodox sacerdotal thinking. Please, think seriously about what you, as a new convert, are doing, in light of the Holy Scriptures (e.g. 1 Tim 3:6) with much gravity. It is not and has never been a mere matter for top-down pronouncement w/o real concern; your conscience is involved, and you must not overcome it. This advice is presumably addressing someone who is still, as of this date, a layman and only newly chrismated, so if you are not that Mark, my apologies.

    Comment by DUCK | January 18, 2008 | Reply

  6. Father Mark: if the discussion cannot get beyond appeal to authority, then we’ve accepted an essentially Roman Catholic epistemology and, by extension, ecclesiology, sacerdotal thinking, etc. One might, after all, just as easily observe that a Bishop (Anthony) wrote an pastoral encyclical for his flock that caused a storm in the A.A., including a rudely-worded protest from the Vicar General of the Western Rite Vicariate. Here, the premise of the site, is that discussion can benefit Orthodox unity on these issues, done courteously. Discussion cannot proceed in any venue, of course, on the basis of ad hominem, appeal to authority, and straw men. If you dismiss something in toto, you have essentially denied an Orthodox way of thinking in the first place, and embraced one inherited from the US culture.

    On your second point, again, if there can be no concerns or discussion about what appears to be a general policy, and not merely an occasional exercise of economia (which is precisely NOT a general policy) then we are again talking about an essentially Roman Catholic confusion of power with authority with pastoral jurisdiction. We don’t have cardinals, we’re not neo-papists, and so discussion is merited.

    Comment by DUCK | January 18, 2008 | Reply

  7. OrthodoxMichael: The convergence movement,as I understand it, and I’m not an expert, is a group of evangelicals who are interested in liturgy, pentecostalism, and evangelicalism.

    The point was actually made in one post to the site that this really is a very different way than the Church has historically received converts. Fr. John Meyedorff I think, explains best, the difference between receiving an entire Church like Canterbury or Rome, and receiving splinter groups.

    Comment by DUCK | January 18, 2008 | Reply

  8. A ninth-generation priest, the Very Rev. Constantine Nasr, His Grace, Bishop BASIL, His Emminence, Metropolitan PHILIP, Patriach IGNATIUS IV, and Saint John Maximovitch all enthusiastically support the Western Rite…so your point is what? That you’re right and they are wrong?

    As for ordaining “quite hastily” the “converting ‘clergy'” maybe you should defer to the bishops’ judgments over those they are laying hands on.

    Comment by Father Mark | January 18, 2008 | Reply

  9. What is this convergence movement? What has the Church done in the past in reguard to corporate conversion? Isn’t the conversion of Russia the same concept?

    Comment by orthodoxmichael | January 18, 2008 | Reply

  10. To be fair though, and we certainly welcome comments, Fr. Patrick is quoting Clarke Carlton. I’m not a big fan of Carlton, but the connection he’s drawing is interesting if not original. Also, Fr. Patrick is a priest and I might disagree with him (I don’t in this case), and say so, but even an angel wouldn’t dare to correct a priest. I would at least speak with reverence, for him, especially when calling upon the Trinity, lest I draw attention to my own deficiencies, however much I may be concerned that ordinations are proceeding quite hastily for converting “clergy” who often don’t demonstrate a substantial grasp of things I think they should.

    Comment by DUCK | January 18, 2008 | Reply

  11. ““The reason there’s not been a pentecostal charismatic renewal movement within Orthodoxy is because of a healthy and robust theology of the Holy Spirit. I think what began this distintegration… was the theology of the (filioque) which results in a very weak doctrine of the Holy Spirit.” – Fr. Patrick Cardine,”

    The chrisim oils are hardly dry and it begins… It can all be traced back to the filioque… Neverminding that the filioque first appeared in the East and existed “back in the Western Orthodox day” in Spain for three centuries before the Cerulian schism.

    Most Holy Trinity, deliver us from pontificating enthusiastic converts!

    Comment by asimplesinner | January 18, 2008 | Reply

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