Western Rite Critic

A Balance to Contagious Enthusiasm

The Church is Indivisible


CommunionThe Church, is the One, Undivided, Spotless Lamb without Blemish, not a bone of which can be broken, nor anything lost, clad in a seamless garment, or else we are all damned, and there is no Faith and no God. All of our Fathers are in agreement on this and share in this Faith, without which none of us can be saved, and unless a man think as this, is anathema. For there is “One body and one Spirit; as you are called in one hope of your calling. One Lord, one faith, one baptism. One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in us all.”

We must be willing to die for this Confession.

An Anglican once asked me about our devotion to ikons. It was hard for her to understand what seemed like so much more than a devotion, as in Roman Catholicism – it’s not a rosary, and so much more than the attitude toward statues, or the Anglican attitude toward the Cross. All of which are pious, but which do not approach the fulness of Orthodox psychology of ikons. The response was to try to explain it in the context of the two iconoclast “controversies” which get labelled w. the word “controversy” by scholars to conceal what they were – persecutions of the Church, with martyrs, with Confessors, and with many many casualties. It was spiritual combat. Demons and Angels warred in the smoke of our incense, the thick of our prayers, and the agony of our cries.

Who of us would not go to the stake for the holy ikons? Burn my flesh. Indeed, torture me all the day long, pluck out my tongue at the roots, and scald me so that I suffer with silent screams. Bless me in this way. But do not take from me the holy pictures. Gouge out my eyes, and cut off my lips that I might not kiss them, my hands that I might not touch them, but leave them alone; do not touch the holy things. She thought this was exaggeration from emotion. No. This fire is not quelled. My life for theirs. Freely. How the martyr St. Hieromonk Nestor [His Life here] staked his life on the holy ikons, and joined them, becoming one of them, and now we venerate and kiss his picture.

And so it is with the Church. The Church is One. It cannot be divided, or else there are two Christs. Else there must be another Incarnation and another sending of the Spirit. The Church cannot be divided, or it is no Church, and our Faith is useless, invested in a falsehood, a false Person, and we are of all men most laughable.

If you are young in the Faith, and you hear any Saints spoken against, or any clergy slandered, or the Faith denied and Heresy proclaimed, cross yourselves, discreetly, so as to attract no attention, and then depart – go away from hearing. And then pray, discreetly, for salvation for the others, and that by their prayers they you be saved, and that God preserve you from falling into the same pit. But you must never compromise on this: there is One Church, and it can never be and has never been divided. Without this ecclesiology, we do not have the same Faith.

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February 17, 2008 - Posted by | -- Ecclesiology & Ecumenism, Western Rite -- The Rosary, Western Rite Issues | , , , , , ,

16 Comments »

  1. Fr. Augustine, thank you. I just now saw this post and appreciate it. We will take all you’ve said into consideration. I do think there’s a larger trend at work in the WRV that not all the sincere followers fathom in their sincerity. One can only hope to be wrong.

    Comment by tuD | February 24, 2008 | Reply

  2. Ha!

    Well, I got a good laugh from the suggestion that I be a moderator. A few things should be pointed out.

    1) I am merely a monk, not a priest – and have not yet come to the one year anniversary of my tonsure. It would be highly inappropriate for someone as underqualified as me to act in any sort of “churchman” moderating capacity!

    2) I would certainly need to ask a blessing from my abbot to act as a moderator of any sort; I would not receive that blessing.

    3) Part of the reason I would not receive the blessing, is because I am currently taking a degree from my local University. I’m quite busy.

    4) And lastly, I have not yet begun to master my own passions, especially on the topic of debate. While Fr. Aidan was very kind to second the idea of my honorary moderation, Fr. Aidan has witnessed my own failures in this regard on the webgroup that he himself moderates. At times I have been patronizing, condescending and rude to people – including Ben Johnson. If deacon Johnson is actually upset with this site and likely to post anything, how could I credibly offer to moderate, when I have treated him shabbily myself? I of course ask his forgiveness, but God forbid I should ask him to respect me as a moderator.

    So, let’s take St. Paul’s advice and “bear one another’s burdens.” There will doubtless be times when I will need to be moderated myself – let’s all try to keep each other honest. Most of all, let’s try to really present a tone of good will, albeit with a desire to better understand (and critique) what may be lacking in our respective approaches.

    I feel like, too often, the AWRV is merely attacked for not doing “good enough” with their WR. Well, we need to remember that the Orthodox Church has encouraged them in their approach (or, at least, their hierarchy has). Furthermore, they (like many of us Eastern Rite faithful) are often new converts who have not yet assimilated the Orthodox phronema as well as we may like. So, we have to give the benefit of the doubt, and assume they would like to do the right thing, if they were truly convinced of what it was. I have faith that the Holy Spirit will guide things in the right direction, if we try to avoid an “us vs. them” mentality, and all of us – AWRV and “other” – are all agreed that humility, self-criticism and honesty before God are of primary importance. Such an attitude is always blessed, and God will right every wrong in such circumstances – but if the faithful of the AWRV or the Eastern Rite adopt an hard heart, neither Rite will do us a bit of good.

    One last thing – we should try to remember that the internet is a place where one or two people can sound like a thousand. I have spoken to many people in the AWRV. There are a few people I’ve met, who seemed genuinely committed, on principle, to a post-schism approach which differs precious little from the heterodox churches. Only a few. Most of the faithful, with whom I’ve spoken, are simply at home in the West and feel deeply alienated in an Eastern Church. It is true that Orthodox people should feel at home in any Orthodox liturgy – but we must remember that in many locations, the issue is not one of Orthodoxy but of ethnicity first and foremost. The first Orthodox Church I ever visited was a Greek one. After the service I was looking at the icons, and a deacon walked up to me. I thought he had come to greet me, and smiled as he approached. In fact, he had come to tell me that it was time for me to leave.

    What I’m saying: polemics may at times be necessary, and logical deconstructions of an argument can be helpful. But we must always strive to do these things in as conciliatory and honestly charitable (read: sincerly loving) a way as possible. The Fathers tell us that when we argue with passion in our heart, even if we are “right,” we are wrong and had done best not to argue at all. We must do this, because the faithful who simply love the West (and are only loosely committed to BCP or Tridentine liturgy) can then hear the message and appreciate it. But if an “us vs. them” mentality emerges, then even the moderate faithful may become polarized into detesting our viewpoints, for purely emotional reasons.

    Where we offend (whether we have sinned or not in so doing), we should attempt to make very plain our sincerity, our charity for our brethren, and our desire for a good and collaborative relationship.

    I’ve spoken too much; I’m sorry. I must feel like I’m in a position to lecture everybody!

    Comment by fatheraugustine | February 23, 2008 | Reply

  3. Ah, so that’s it! I didn’t pay attention to the name. My recollection of that, though, was that he LIKED the western rite, at least that instance of it. That’s pretty flimsy cause for accusing him of owning this site. Incidentally, I love the Ferruzzi madonna. Not an icon, but it is a wonderful painting.

    So… he doesn’t like chicken… 🙂 Well, anyway, he did make a fun site. 🙂

    Comment by tuD | February 19, 2008 | Reply

  4. “Who the heck are the Suaidens? We do not know them, never heard of them, don’t recall ever reading anything by them (we might have, we just don’t recall), and certainly they have nothing to do with the material on this site, unless somewhere we’ve quoted them directly, and all our quotations have sources indicated.”

    You quoted my husband directly in: Transition vs. Overnight Institutionalization. It was his youtube comment you posted on the video of St Isidoro & Leandro Hispanic Orthodox Church in the Lower East Side. BTW, the youtube page you had to get the embed code from for the church video has a direct link to our wedding video as a “video response”.

    As for being “wrong” about my husbands personal qualities, yeah, your wrong on a few points. As for the prayers…Well, we ALL need prayers for our souls, don’t we?

    Comment by nycxs | February 19, 2008 | Reply

  5. That’s lovely! I havn’t read the text yet; my first inclination is always to read the unwritten communications of a thing. But the subtext is gloriously delightful, amusing, intriguing, spontaneous, tongue-in-cheek, and provocative. Oh, well done!

    It’s just like a person: when someone speaks, they use dozens of gestures, postures, involuntary responses, and nonverbal signals that communicate on far more channels than whatever they’re saying, and that’s not even counting the clothing choices (or unconscious choices) they made that day – and then you start listening on the verbal channels: tone, pace, pitch, choice of words, syntax, grammar, the works, and finally arrive at the actual text of what they are saying, and you read the whole broadcast. It’s the liturgical way of listening. Or when you pick up a book and know the author chose the font, page size, chapter layout, etc., it makes a huge difference.

    One easily picks up on the “all right fine, here you go” of the site – you captured that well. It’s evident you have a brain – that takes 10 seconds to see. You’ve either got an artistic streak, or someone working with you who does, or both. The visual choices (colors, etc) are yours? You’ve done at least some amateur journalism. You have moderate to high technical skills. A glance at the code says you favor either writing it yourself, or using an extra-clean page writer. Some technie-geekiness in either you or your primary designer. Hmm. Your goal was hwamp, here you go more than it was extensible/expandible but perhaps partly b/c you know that you have enough skill at your disposal to make the site extensive were you inclined – you just don’t feel the need right now – you make your point w. reasonable concision. Your religious experiences have involved more than one religion or Faith, yet you’re under 60 I think. The site went up in a manic bit of controlled haste. 🙂 You have a penchant for and flare for reductio ad absurdum, which sounds to me like you like a good meal and a sofa with TV, but you find that most merely pedestrian media can’t keep up with you. Ah, you ARE a geek, because you’re cheap. You like fried chicken, don’t you? Ooo and now looking at the text, some good points, too. Somewhat populist in your attitudes. Anti-establishment. You enjoy the film Planet of the Apes? College education or a really solid high school. The flair for comedy – you enjoy lightly teasing people you love, and often answer conflict by turning it into laughter. Yes, you hold Orthodoxy to be the standard of Orthodoxy, which can have no other standard. Not a big fan of ecumenism, are you? Of course, I think the other person said that already. Ah, you started out angry, but turned it into fun, and now you’re thinking about it. Hmm – you need prayers for your soul, but aren’t going to toss your mind down a hole to get them.

    All right, where did I mess up? Any of this wrong so far?

    Comment by tuD | February 19, 2008 | Reply

  6. My name is Joe Suaiden, and since Deacon Ben Johnson has decided to claim I wrote a site critical of him, I decided to oblige him.

    http://westernritefraud.freehostia.com

    My apologies for the confusion as to who wrote what. I am sure it should be crystal clear now.

    Comment by joesuaiden | February 19, 2008 | Reply

  7. On that we can agree. 🙂

    I’ll see your Western saints and raise you Our Lord himself – put to death by his own, who said he was crazy, lying, or demon possessed, which would later give Dom Lewis such wonderful material. 🙂

    Yep, the Lord is the first of us.

    Comment by tuD | February 18, 2008 | Reply

  8. Now that brought a smile to my face. Carry on, brother. All I can add to that, are a few Western “patrons”:

    – St. Genevieve
    – St. Chad
    – St. Martin the Confessor
    – St. Anthony the Roman

    Comment by hieromonachusaidanus | February 18, 2008 | Reply

  9. Hmm. I see we share our own set of patron Saints.

    St. Nektarios
    St. John Chrysostom
    St. Photius
    St. Mark of Epehesus
    et al

    Comment by tuD | February 18, 2008 | Reply

  10. It’s okay, I’ve already lost everything. For my advocacy of older forms of Western rite, I’ve endured untrue accusations from certain AWRV quarters, and as a result I’ve lost (a) a priestly career; (b) a congregation; (c) all my money; and (d) a fully-appointed chapel. (Joseph Suaiden is discovering something of how this process works, though he has less, perhaps, to lose.)

    After all that, I might as well keep taking the heat. That way, the heat can be deflected from others who don’t deserve it either. At least it is my hope that others can be spared these griefs.

    Comment by hieromonachusaidanus | February 18, 2008 | Reply

  11. Well, that’s the thing. So far, the blame for it falls only on we anonymous donors. And we’re fairly well entrenched and fairly equipped to protect ourselves and our loved ones. In essence, we’ve sacrificed having names, let alone good names, in order to provide this service.

    But I hesitate to let anyone of name take any blame, and worry for those of you who post here any reasonable thought or contribution, even when it moderates our activity or corrects us. We’ve no wish for you to come under fire, and we are well aware that not everyone has any clue how painful, damaging, and devastating that fire can be when you’re out in the open.

    So, I encourage you, say not one kind word about us, nor show any sympathy, unless you do it for your salvation. We appreciate those who save themselves by defending us when we are worthy of defense, but we don’t ask it of you. If we weren’t willing to be burned, we’d have never started this venture.

    Nothing is so fearful as religious people who have much against you. Give me the atheist who hates me over the religionist who is angry with me. I am safer with the one who doesn’t believe his attitudes have divine sanction. And so are you. Be cautious. Withdraw, if you feel you should. Leave us to it, and pray for us.

    We’ve drawn this sort of line for Fr. Augustine, precisely so he can save himself by saying, “I don’t feel comfortable serving in that capacity” and so redeem himself in the eyes of any would-be detractors and assailants before they notice him. We encourage him to say it. We recommend it.

    You know, we’re not the first such site as this. Just the first of this magnitude on this topic. Others have ventured here, and others have created sites of far more magnitude and significance on other topics of more weight, and are out there being buttered alive by some. But we worry for their souls, because it doesn’t leave them alone. We, at least, can go off and pray, and leave the console whenever we wish, and go anywhere in the world and be fine. They are beseiged by their battles, condemned by some for scandalizing the Faith, lauded by others for supporting it, and in any case living under mounds of both.

    We are weaker than this. We must go often and refresh ourselves with prayer and take no thought of these things for some time.

    Comment by tuD | February 17, 2008 | Reply

  12. I am glad to hear Fr. Augustine proposed as a future, honourary moderator of this blog. I think that if a canonical Orthodox churchman would moderate (in whatever form that might take), criticisms of the blog’s very existence would be more cautiously worded.

    Comment by hieromonachusaidanus | February 17, 2008 | Reply

  13. Fr. Augustine… as usual… (you know what I would say, and you’ll just deny it 🙂 Anyway, thank you. And your six points above will be immediately adopted more or less verbatim and created a Position Statement page on the site.

    I would add one caveat, since most of those comments are an explanation of what we’re not. We *are* a catalog of concerns, critique, and questions concerning WR activity, and so we aren’t presuming for this site to be the ultimate balance in itself, by presenting all arguments of any kind, equally, nor do we think that there is such a balance possible, or that out of perfect balance, we get truth. We’re not Brahminists, after all. 🙂 Rather, this site is meant as a balance to the enthusiasm out there, and to the silencing of critical discussion, or the illicit dismissing of concerns by fallacious (other words are simply dishonest and abusive) techniques. We identify those techniques precisely to preserve the mission of the site.

    But let me draw a distinction that may be of help: When we get people coming on who hurl invective, and start with a nasty attitude, making it clear they’ve already made up their mind but are looking for a fight, logic is very helpful because it unravels their approach very quickly, and we don’t waste a lot of time in a gainless exercise. In fact, we won’t allow this site to become a ‘war-board’ like so many others have, and one reason, besides our own complete disinterest in that, and our desire to preserve our souls, is that exactly the kind of people you desire to read and think about these things tend to be alienated by the fighting. Better to shut it down quickly and effectively by fairly foolproof means, and if someone persists in just trolling w. nothing constructive but just mockery and fighting, we ban them, because that’s not real discussion.

    With people genuinely interested in honest discussion, you’re right, we should probably be more careful to use the method you describe, and we will work on beginning to do that immediately.

    We will appreciate any help you wish to be as an honorary moderator of discussion by injecting peace and reason and love wherever we stray. I mean that sincerely. We invite your correction, counsel, and helps, for our own salvation, that we may love one another, that we may make peace, and that we may adhere to precisely the set of protocols you’ve outlined.

    One thing about the articles themselves. Sometimes the article is provocative, because its meant to be a vehicle for thinking about things in a new way. We don’t expect every assertion of every article to be accepted, or even to be all that good. We just want to nudge the process of thought, so that people will ask questions in their minds about things that so often are taken for granted, that probably shouldn’t be. And if, out of that, we find the discussion provides a wiser way of thinking about it, and corrects us, as often it has, we are thankful, and give thanks, and encourage it.

    So far, the joy of being corrected wherever we have been wrong, has been one of the best joys of being involved with the site. That and either defending the innocent and the liberty to think and express concerns and think some more, or else when others defend us in that kind. These things are joy to us.

    Comment by tuD | February 17, 2008 | Reply

  14. This is an unfortunate situation: I have a suggestion to make.

    The purpose of this site is to promote real investigation into the Western Rite, its viability, etc. Because the AWRV has the highest proportion of WR faithful in Orthodoxy, and therefore we would most of all like for them to participate, I think we should take steps to make sure that all people are welcome here, while not at all compromising on the stated goal of this site: intense (and hopefully constructive) criticism of the Western Rite. I would suggest that a few offical statements be made, and perhaps brought to Ben Johnson’s attention (albeit not in my exact terms – I leave that to the blog administrator’s discretion):

    1) The site is neither pro- nor anti-western rite.
    2) The site is run by a member of a canonical jurisdiction.
    3) The site respects the judgment and the right of the Antiochian Synod to bless the forms of worship in the AWRV.
    4) Nevertheless, the faithful have always felt the need to understand important movements in the Church – since the laity also have a responsibility to understand and safeguard the faith. Since there is disagreement in Orthodoxy over the viability of the WR or specific expressions thereof – even on the episcopal level – it is appropriate for Orthodox faithful to discuss the matter more thoroughly – always in a spirit of humility and prayer.
    5) Therefore, while implying no disrespect to anyone at all, the purpose of this site is merely to encourage high-calibre discussion regarding the Western Rite, so that all participants may come to their own conclusions on the matter, whether pro or con.
    6) And again, the site is decidedly not pro- or anti-Western Rite; nor is it pro- or anti- AWRV; least of all is it opposed to Canonical Orthodoxy.

    I also think we should all make an effort to keep discussion very civil – for the most part, I think that has happened here. But, it might be profitable to avoid generalizations about people in the AWRV. I am the first person to be guilty of this – and indeed, I believe my first post (and probably some others) made a generalization or two of this kind. I repent of that decision.

    Furthermore, we might want to avoid the desire to deconstruct arguments in a final and absolute manner. For example, I was never schooled in all of the “logical fallacies” that one learns in a logic class. I think I do a fair job of spotting poor logic, but I might not always know the “name” for the specific type of bad logic being used. I think that people will only respond negatively to having all their logical fallacies pointed out in so precise a way. If we are patient with people, and try to disagree with them in a more conciliatory way, we might find that more people are willing to go out on a limb, and put their opinions forward. I’m not saying that we should let bad ideas “slip by” – I’m just suggesting that there are gentler ways of getting a point across. It’s difficult to get the courage to express one’s views, for some people, if they are worried they will be made to look foolish in reply.

    In fact, I’ve sometimes found it more productive to focus on clearly and gently stating a viewpoint, without being concerned to point out what is wrong in other people’s views. When we point out how they are “wrong,” this tends to polarize and upset people, and turn them against our cause on purely emotional grounds. Not logical, not very mature… but very human! When we do this in a non-polemical way, people are more likely to think about what we’ve said, and perhaps change their mind as a result of private reflection on our statements.

    I prefer a very logical, direct, plain-dealing style of argument. I view it as a sign of respect when a person can be direct and “cut to the chase” in deconstructing my poorly-made points. Because I prefer that style of discussion, I have tended to argue with people in that way for most of my life. I’ve learned – the hard way – that almost nobody else feels this way! We most help our cause when we are willing to soften our touch and let people think things over in a low-pressure environment. I think most people are good and want to do the right thing. If we present good information and reasoning, I believe that will bear fruit without having to critique our opponents’ views too directly.

    I am, again, the first person to blame in this regard, as I have a long history of arguing with people in very absolutist terms. With God’s help, I’ll make a beginning of repenting for that, as well.

    Anyway, just some suggestions.

    Comment by fatheraugustine | February 17, 2008 | Reply

  15. I’m sorry you were falsely accused. The article we provided on bearing false witness may be of some help.

    Really, so many of the WR enthusiasts have nothing else but to appeal to these fallacies. They do not credit any WR critics with having reasonable and sincere concerns, something one presumes automatically (benefit of the doubt) of one’s opponent in civilized discussion.

    That’s why this site was created (and not by you – we don’t even know you). We did a survey of WR enthusiast sites on the internet, and discovered that wherever concerns or criticism arise, they are quickly hammered down with ad hominem, ad vericundiam, ad baculum, and other non sequitur. They are met with campaigns against personalities, false accusations, the deep sin and pride and delusion of suspicion, and suspicion elevated by the pride of the accusor to treatment as fact (demonstrating the secret conviction of infallibility in the accusor).

    So, recognizing that others might be less equipped to resist these techniques of inquisition and crusade, we set up a place that is immune to this, that calls those things what it is, and that will not yield to illicit pressure or false charges or a campaign of non sequitur. We are well trained in this sort of thing and quite capable of being the rocks against which the waves crash loudly and break themselves, crying out in their ineffectual fervor.

    We have witnessed other techniques
    , which it is not prudent to mention here, but suffice it to say that none of them will be successful. None of them, after all, are original; we know them from of old. And all they succeed in doing is illustrating our point.

    We will not be swept up in the force of history, just ‘going along’
    , just ‘accepting it and moving on’, cheering the Reichstag Fire of reason and sober discussion, as it were, let alone casting into it the books of our sound and rational autonomy, yielding our minds to the thrust and force of emotion.

    Remember, whenever anyone falsely accuses you, or tries to assassinate your character wrongly for Christ’s sake, or conducts a campaign to impugn you on suspicion, guesswork, and supposition – asking others to trust their arrogant judgment and analysis and treat it as quasi-fact, the Lord is your defender. Angels surround you and do battle. And the Church supports you in Her prayers, upholding the innocent, vindicating the wronged, and binding it so in Heaven from the Earth.

    And on the Earth, this takes the form that all who hear, who have justice in their hearts, will disregard such things, because there is no quasi-truth, there is only truth. We do not, in our epistemology, accept intuition as reality, but specifically repudiate that way, with all our fathers, who warn us against the use of imagination in such ways, and counsel us that the hypothetical isn’t real. And those who have injustice in their hearts, will be carried away with such things, and believe them, and take them for truth, and so incur more wrath, and God will judge them the more for it.

    The Lord, and the Prophet Isaiah, and the great Rite of Confirmation in the Church: “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me; He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the lowly, to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners, To announce a year of favor from the LORD and a day of vindication by our God, to comfort all who mourn.”

    By your prayers, you who are slandered, save me.

    And just for the record, and in response to these strangely hurled accusations:

    1. The objections here are specifically intended to include, among them, all reasonable objections that have appeared anywhere. We make that very clear, that we are a consolidator site of critique of thinking, behavior, and implementation of various WR activities. So if we’ve included any of your stuff, well we likewise have included material by Bishop Anthony, Fr. Alexander Schmemann, and others. By his logic, perhaps they are running this site. 🙂 You see the absurdity.
    2. Everyone associated with this site is a member of a Church of a canonical jurisdiction, and encourages others in that kind. This is a suspicion and interpretation elevated to the status of truth – something blog owners, in their felt infallibility of perception, often fall into.
    3. No where on the site, except in the above quotation and in this response, do the words “New World Order” occur. As for ramblings, we find irony in that comment.
    4. We’ve written a single article on “Israel and the End Times” and it was correcting that point of view.
    5. Lots of people show an increasing interest in the Western Rite.

    Lastly, as for being sorry for getting credit for it, just remember, we have to all be lumped in together in order to slander us properly and dismiss effectively. It’s a lot harder if the same types of concerns tend to be popping up all over the place, among decent, reasoning Christian folk, faster than they can chrismate new WR missions. And they have to slander us in the first place, because otherwise people might begin to catalog that there are more than five standard, easily dismissable concerns, crafted as straw men by our detractors, telling us what it is we object to so they can easily dismiss it all. Especially any ongoing analysis and growing set of concerns has to be absolutely squashed. Fortunately, these are amateurs and haven’t a clue what they’re up against. You could tell them outright, and they wouldn’t get it. Their view, for being long, isn’t long enough.

    While we don’t know you, and you don’t know us, we won’t do to our opponents what they do to us. There are some very sound, reasonable, pious people involved in various Western Rite activities, and we respect and respond to them with deference and interest. Unfortunately, you may just not be meeting very many of them. Wonderfully, one of them does not speak for another. Many of them speak here, and we appreciate and welcome the interaction.

    We will remain on our guard against illicit tactics for quelling thought, but we’ve found a number of Western Rite adherents and practitioners that haven’t even attempted anything like that, and consider them in some wise friends, since they are friends of sanity.

    Official statement by the Western Rite Critic site: Who the heck are the Suaidens? We do not know them, never heard of them, don’t recall ever reading anything by them (we might have, we just don’t recall), and certainly they have nothing to do with the material on this site, unless somewhere we’ve quoted them directly, and all our quotations have sources indicated. As for the names they have been called (and that’s all it is – namecalling) and the names their ideas have been called (in an exercise in tautology), we sympathize not because we know anything whatsoever about who they are, what they think, or what they’ve said, but because this is the uncivilized response received in general by those who critique or persist in serious concerns about things done in the name of “Western Rite Orthodoxy” which so often have nothing to do with Orthodoxy, let alone with an Orthodox rite. If these things need such an unChristian response to preserve them, then may they not be preserved, and no Christian can rightly wish them preserved; instead preserve our souls. May all reasonable, sane, honorable, honest, and Christian men and women band together, consider these things in the light of reason and piety together, and by your prayers save us.

    Comment by tuD | February 17, 2008 | Reply

  16. Hi,

    This is a bit of an odd comment and for that I apologize. My husband and I were “accused” of the ownership of this blog by Ben Johnson, the owner of http://westernorthodox.blogspot.com/.

    Just thought I would forward what he has been circulating via the net:

    ” Although one cannot be sure, the blog in question
    (https://westernritecritic.wordpress.com
    ) appears to be the handiwork of a Mr.
    Joseph Suaiden (and/or his wife, Evelyn “Xenia” Torres Suaiden). Suaiden is an
    intemperate critic of all canonical Orthodoxy, a raving conspiracy
    theorist, and
    a promoter of his own vagante “liturgy.”

    I think this blog is his work for a few reasons:

    1. it recycles objections he has personally made on the Occidentalis and
    OrthodoxWest Yahoo Groups, and on his own (non-anonymous) blog;
    2. it features his hatred of canonical Orthodox jurisdictions;
    3. it contains his bizarre, conspiratorial ramblings about the New World Order
    and ecumenists;
    4. it has a focus on Israel and “the end times”; and
    5. Suaiden has shown an increasing interest in the Western Rite.”

    Anyhow, I’ve never even seen this blog until today, sorry we are getting credit for it.

    Comment by nycxs | February 17, 2008 | Reply


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