Western Rite Critic

A Balance to Contagious Enthusiasm

Theology and Economy


TheologyTheology is who God is in and of himself apart from any created thing. Economy, in contrast, is God’s activity toward all that is not God – that is, toward all creation (and what is not God is created). Economy is God’s salvation from everlasting. The Energies (the Grace) of God, by which we speak of His activity, are likewise uncreate, are God, and in fact are the means of creation and redemption. The Orthodox alone hold this Faith from the Apostles. By contrast, the Roman Catholic Church considers grace (the energies) to be created: created grace – which is a different and incompatible theology (doctrine of God), leading to a different an incompatible mysteriology, eschatology, and other doctrines.

Economy: The Economy (another word for it is Condescension) is really the Incarnation of Christ. When we speak of the Economy or the use of economia, we speak specifically of the Incarnation, for in that reality all God’s activity is recapitulated, from creation to redemption. God became man, and all history looks either forward to or back from that prime event. In this is our teleology (belief concerning the meaning of history) and likewise the mystery of our eschatology (doctrine of the future).

The God who created man, became created man, to save him, and to make possible the union of God and man, theosis (deification). God condescended to man, because man could not reach God. God overcame the barriers between us and salvation, closing the uncloseable distance of union. God is unknowable and so unobtainable, but God became what we are, that he might remain God, unknowable in essence, but that we might obtain union, through his uncreated Energies.

All activity of God toward man is of the Incarnation, is Economy, and has its character and attitude. All God’s activity toward man is for man’s salvation – for theosis. Nothing else. Even theology is merely a means to an end – this union with God. Theology is nothing in itself – and union is all. And so our genuine theology is the far reaches of the path of union, rather than any academic study, which is more a discussion of a path rather than a pursuit of it. As the fathers say, theology is prayer, and the true theologian is the one on the path of true prayer. Continue reading

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February 23, 2008 Posted by | -- Theology, Western Rite Issues | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Cause for Bigotry


“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” — St. Paul

The institutionalization of divisions between us comes not so much from acts of the Church as from Orthodox publishing and media. The term “cradles” in contrast with “converts” is one example, fitting well in the glossary with “ethnics” and “non-ethnics” (by which everyone means ‘Americans’, the cultural hegemony of the age and exporters of Walmart, even if they can’t bring themselves to say it). And we don’t hear Christ anymore who, consistently, showed us that we all need to convert. The apostles were cradle-Orthodox, lest we forget. Everyone converts. Everyone is born anew into Christ. Some just do it earlier than others. And as for ethnics/non-ethnics (or Jew vs. Greek – same thing), it’s just another example, on the one hand, of the equation of ‘American’ with a political-cultural-religious concept that is clearly demonic. And on the other hand, it shows we don’t believe our own gospel. We don’t; you know it, and any independent observer can see it.

The enthusiasts for much that’s being done in the name of “Western Rite”, will claim that any criticism, any questions that don’t roll over for straw men, appeals to authority, and sometimes outright lies, are also creating a division. It’s like blaming the central park jogger, really, for being dressed in too short a skirt. What the WR gang has done, though, is initiate a fundamental assault on Orthodox ecclesiology, and then claim that if we don’t evolve with it, we’re divisive. The factious man is the one who attacks the holy doctrines of our faith in the first place. Continue reading

January 22, 2008 Posted by | -- Catechesis & Conversion, -- Phyletism, Western Rite Questions | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Are Pre-Schism Liturgics Really Pristine?


According to Westernorthodox.com (1-16-2008): “Before the year 1054 there would have been no difficulty in declaring that the Western Rite of the Undivided Church was simply the use of Latin speaking Churches. The Rite used by Christians in Scotland, Ireland and England, was as Orthodox as that used in Constantinople.”

Questions: Could it be that the Schism happened so suddenly that we can date the exact point of departure? If the fundamental doctrinal shifts (identifying God with a philosophical construct (e.g. the filioque), papal supremacy, and the concept of doctrinal development) that began in the 6th-9th centuries and led up to the Schism altered the theology, ecclesiology, mysteriology, soteriology, and sacerdotal doctrines, to mention a few, how did the liturgical development escape the same process? And if it did not, isn’t that a significant problem? Likewise, if the West also grew to *understand* their liturgics differently, as they did in each of these other fields, is it not of significant concern that so many Western converts are being hastily funneled into a WR, without sufficient liturgical education and study of meaning in the Eastern rite?

January 17, 2008 Posted by | Western Rite Questions | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

General Absolution


Someone sent in a comment indicating that large numbers of cradle Orthodox in a particular parish have the notion that there is supposed to be a General Absolution on the way to the chalice, so that they don’t have to go to Holy Confession. Apparently, this used to be a practice in their large parish, and they resent now having to change their habits by going to receive the Mystery of Penance, which they are advised they should pursue 3-times per year, and of occasionally being asked not to approach the chalice, since some of them are unwilling to do this. For the sake of avoiding scandalizing anyone, the parish will not be mentioned.

Brethren, there is no such mystery of General Absolution in Orthodoxy, let alone a “drive by” format that occurs on the way to the chalice. The old habit is heterodox and the new one Orthodox, though three times a year will be viewed as not a little bit scant by those of us who consider “a recent confession” to be far more frequent, not to mention attendance at Holy Vespers in the first place, where possible, and a keeping of the fasts of the Church. The reason for concern in this case is that the parish is also generating a Western Rite, and our desire is that no such heterodox notions follow the newly Chrismated involved.

January 17, 2008 Posted by | Western Rite Pieties | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Antiochian WR & Roman Catholic Mysteriology


The Western Rite parish provides to its members the seven sacraments of the historic Church.
These are: Holy Baptism, Confirmation (Chrismation), Holy Communion (open only to confirmed/
chrismated members of the Orthodox Church), Confession (privately to a priest), Marriage (only
between a man and a woman. The Orthodox Church does accept remarriage after a period of
penance), Holy Orders (the Apostolic succession of bishops and the male only priesthood) and
the Anointing of the Sick (healing services)and the Dying (Extreme Unction). – St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church 1/16/2008

Note: The Orthodox Church rejects the notion that there are seven mysteries, that mysteriology can be neatly defined, and that the mysteries mentioned above correspond exactly to the mysteries as understood by the Orthodox Church (e.g. Confirmation/Holy Chrismation)

January 17, 2008 Posted by | Western Rite Quotes | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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