Western Rite Critic

A Balance to Contagious Enthusiasm

I want to be Left Behind!


Taken Behind - Don't be taken. It really sucks.“For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one will be left. – Matthew 24:37-41 (NASB)

“And as it was in the time of Noah, so will it also be in the time of the Son of Man. Men were eating and drinking, taking wives and giving wives, up to the very day on which Noah entered the Ark, and the Deluge came and destroyed them all. The same was true in the time of Lot: they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building; but on the day that Lot left Sodom, God rained fire and brimstone from the sky and destroyed them all. Exactly so will it be on the day that the veil is lifted from the Son of Man. On that day, if a man is on the roof and his property indoors, let him not go down to fetch it; and, in the same way, he who is in the field, let him not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife. Any man who makes it his object to keep his own life safe, will lose it; but whoever loses his life will preserve it. On that night, I tell you, there will be two men in one bed: one will be taken away and the other left behind. There will be two women turning the mill together: one will be taken away and the other left behind.” “Where, Master?” they inquired. “Where the dead body is,” He replied, “there also will the vultures flock together.” – Luke 17:26-37 (Weymouth)

St. John Chrysostom: “Then again He sets another sign, by all which things He makes it evident, that He is not ignorant of the day. And what is the sign? “Then shall two be in the field; one shall be taken, and one left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill, one shall be taken, and one left. Watch therefore, for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. And all these things are both proofs that He knew, and calculated to turn them from their inquiry. So for this cause He spake also of the days of Noe, for this cause He said too, “Two shall be on the bed,” signifying this, that He should come upon them thus unexpectedly, when they were thus without thought, and “two women grinding at the mill,” which also of itself is not the employment of them that are taking thought.”

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March 5, 2008 Posted by | Western Rite Weirdness | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Idol Under the Bed


Tongues in the CEC“And the best of intentions may have damaging results if misapplied to the wrong ends, as exchanging the spiritual state for a state of psychotic hysteria is essentially an act of dissipation merely disguised by a religious false front.” – ALEXANDER Turner, first vicar of the Antiochian Western Rite Vicariate

Fr. Thomas Hopko recently answered a question on the Illumined Heart podcast about “the Charismatic sign gifts” like “speaking in tongues”, by which is meant glossalia, “words of prophesy” (divination), etc. Fr. Thomas, in the course of this conversation, referred to a conversation in mid-May with a recent convert from the Charismatic Episcopal Church, who is now the priest and pastor of a new Antiochian Western Rite mission. In the conversation, he asked the new priest “point blank” if he “prays in tongues”. The priest indicated that “I have and I still do, privately for my own edification, but I never do it publicly anymore.”

Folks, the retention of these practices, even in private devotions, is a problem with mass conversions and ordination of new converts not steeped in the Orthodox mind – indeed still steeped in their own practices (even if they’ve simply gone underground). This creates a parachurch culture of the “enlightened” or “spirit filled” who share with each other “words of prophesy” (presuming to give a message from God) and pray in tongues (presumably the speech of God), and even go so far as to attribute these occult practices (for that’s what they are) to Orthodox Fathers, who clearly are not referring to the same things at all.

All of the fathers teach that the kind of clairvoyance attributed to some startzi comes from a long life of Holy Orthodoxy, lived in continual holiness, through the way of the desert and the monastics. There are two kinds of illumination:

1. The kind that comes through the arduous, difficult path of theosis and is given as a gift (charismata) to the most advanced among the saints. This may be called Illumination.

2. The prelest that tempts the immature believer, deluding him, and enticing him into the passions and the arms of the Enemy. Indeed the enemy needn’t steer anyone to brothels who only had decided he is worthy of visions, who surrenders his senses to involuntary utterance and abuse of the tongue, and who presumes to speak prophesy of his own accord. This properly is called Illuminism, which is but the deadly counterfeit.

Retention of these heterodox practices is indication of a sickness at the heart of the catechetical and conversion process. It’s indicative of the belief that one’s own idol has a place under the bed in Israel. Indeed, this is like a wife married from among the Canaanites, who brought with her the family idols and hid them under the tent, and the Lord judged Israel because they were concealed there.

It is not a matter of ‘giving up’ practices long held, but a question of whether or not conversion, and indeed ordination, involves an understanding and attitude that does not allow them to continue – most especially not in private where, concealed, they are not within the scope of the Church’s ability to say Amen, interpret, understand, or reject. As such, it cannot be tested, and both the convert and his Faith are in danger.

The answer that it is merely switched to private devotion misses the point that: when a leader or a group of people indicate to others that they practice such a thing, it lends it legitimacy. When this is not merely the saying of the Western offices, but is a practice actually forbidden in scripture but interpreted by heterodox according to their own private interpretation as being prescribed, this is more serious, and indicates the need to turn from the practices rightly cast away to those of the Orthodox, as converts have from time immemorial. The Witches burned their books. The Jews laid down their persecution. The Charismatics, likewise, to be within the mind of the Church, must not attempt to augment it with their practices which are quite clearly antagonistic to Orthodox piety and a threat to their own salvation. Rather, they must become Orthodox – not Orthodox “charismatics”. Continue reading

March 1, 2008 Posted by | -- Charismaticism, Western Rite Pieties | , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Credit where it’s due


Liturgy of Saint? Thomas CranmerIt’s time we fessed up and stopped plagiarizing. If you’re going to be Anglican Rite Orthodox, put the words “Liturgy of Thomas Cranmer.” on the cover. In fact, a glorification might be in order. Liturgy of St. Thomas (Cranmer). We have excellent editions of both the old one and the Edwardian Rite, and it’s painful to see their work basically ripped off without proper credit, or stamping Eastern Saints names on it (like St. Tikhon). How un-Western of us. Why the need to appeal to an Eastern Saint for your rite, if it’s a Western rite?

That brings up another point. Western Rite people are going around reversing the meaning of scripture, prophesy, and tradition for this, with novel new apologetics. We all know that Christ will come from East to West, that our tradition accords great meaning to the origin, to what comes “out of the East”. Did you know the new ‘word’ is that, “Well, it’s coming to the West!” Gee, a reversal of our pieties just for a quickie apologetic, and there’s not even a punch line. For shame. Oh well. They’ll probably start wearing their rings on the left hand and crossing themselves backwards too, in the name of whatever anti-Pope came up with that one. Next thing you’ll be hearing is that the WR is closer to the temple worship of old, and then it won’t be long. You guessed it: you’ll hear that Jesus was Western Rite!

January 24, 2008 Posted by | Western Rite Questions | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Three Unholy Forms of Authority


  • In pentecostalism, one gives up sovereignty of will, and intellect to the glossolalia of the emotions. A “word of prophesy” with no sound basis, can suddenly command the thinking and actions of followers. A leader too, may be accorded a “mantle” of apostleship, so that nothing can be reasonably challenged. After all, “touch not God’s annointed”.
  • In the evangelical “discipleship and submission movement” (also called “shepherding”), one gives up sovereignty of will and intellect to a strong leader. Think of it as evangelico-fascism. The talk is ever of “obedience”, and the most useful in these movements are the helper and the true believer. They justify and enable the subjugation of everyone else.
  • It’s no accident that it sounds like a Protestant version of Jesuitical thinking. The same notion that the word of a hierarch “makes something so” is very much in keeping with the priest, in the mass, causing by his words the transmutation and, in confession, absolving sins on his own “authority” and that of the Church. Continue reading

January 19, 2008 Posted by | Western Rite Pieties | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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