Western Rite Critic

A Balance to Contagious Enthusiasm

Holy Toledo, Batman! What a beautiful Explanation!


Responding to: “BTW, I have never had any Western Rite detractor actually *tell* me what phrases or portions of St. Gregory’s or St. Tikhon’s liturgies are actually expressing vile heterodox dogmas. It is usually just a vague complaint that it “isn’t Orthodox” followed by no clear reason why that is so.”

“First, it doesn’t really matter whether any Orthodox believer can give anyone a clear reason for anything. Orthodoxy isn’t about clear reasons; it’s about a revelation that’s beyond reasons. Historically, particular clear reasons had been formulated over long periods of time in answer to particular alien attacks on revelation. When I receive the heavenly Spirit on Sundays, the furthest thing from my mind are clear reasons. As a reminder, academic-style theology is a RECENT transpiration in Orthodoxy, and its similarity to Latinist rationalizing is not without controversy.

Second, I sympathize with your position, but the problem with the Western Rite is that it’s coming out of a heretical West. Heresy has infected the West for centuries and it takes long periods of hindsight to distinguish between heretical stuff and stuff that simply reflects innocuously different cultural forms. That none of the “detractors” makes that determination at this point in time isn’t an argument against those folks. Rather, your expectation that they should be able to make such a determination is simply an outgrowth of your impatience with the unhurried way in which Orthodoxy deals with such matters.

I hope that I don’t seem harsh, because I really do sympathize with your position. The outreach function of the Western Rite addresses a real need: Eastern stuff is foreign to the Western mind and requires the changing of a weltanschauung acquired over a lifetime. This is a huge issue.

You’re absolutely correct about the necessity for a convert’s belief in Orthodoxy as the repository of revealed Truth. When I talk to enquirers and catechumens, I spell out the matter as a dichotomy: Truth v. utility. If one is looking for a church on every corner or being able to live amongst lots of fellow believers or being able to choose among lots of similarly-believing potential spouses or some other utilitarian or ethnic convenience, Orthodoxy ain’t the place to be. Believing in Truth entails a kind of martyrdom, and many Westerners aren’t equipped for it.

I’ve always hated the “Western Rite as reverse Uniat” argument. To me, such an argument implicitly questions the sincerity of Western Riters’ belief in Orthodoxy. The real issue is whether the Western Rite conveys a REALITY, not whether its adherents are sincere Orthodox.” – [source]

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January 31, 2008 - Posted by | -- Phyletism, Western Rite Liturgics, Western Rite Quotes | , , , ,

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