Tuesday, March 31, 2020

On the Canon of St. Andrew

Does Orthodox Wiki Reflect the Standard Orthodox View?

Globally? In the English-speaking world?

The OrthodoxWiki entry on Consecration of a bishop:

The consecration of a bishop is the process during which a candidate for the episcopate receives the fullness of the grace of the priesthood through the Sacred Mystery of ordination by the laying of hands (in the Greek: χειροτονία, Cheirotonia) in succession from the Holy Apostles. The office of bishop is the highest clerical rank in the Orthodox Church. While some bishops may receive titles such as Patriarch, Metropolitan, or Archbishop, all bishops are equal and the titles are administrative ranks and marks of dignity and honor. At his consecration, a bishop receives grace not only to perform the Sacred Mysteries but also to bestow the grace of ordination on others.

Is this view the result of Western influence? Or can it be found within the Byzantine tradition itself? How far back does it go?

In the entry for "Presbyter" it is written:

The word 'presbyter' is, in the Bible, a synonym for bishop (Gr: επίσκοπος - episkopos), referring to a leader in local Church congregations. However, since at least the second century, it has been understood as distinct from bishop and synonymous with priest. Its literal meaning in Greek (Gr: πρεσβύτερος - presbyteros) is "elder." 
And later in the article:

The earliest organization of the Christian churches in Palestine was similar to that of Jewish synagogues, who were governed by a council of elders (presbyteroi). In Acts 11:30 and 15:22, we see this collegiate system of government in Jerusalem, and in Acts 14:23, the Apostle Paul ordains elders in the churches he founded. Initially, these presbyters were apparently identical with the overseers (episkopoi, i.e., bishops), as such passages as Acts 20:17 and Titus 1:5,7 indicate, and the terms were interchangeable. 

Shortly after the New Testament period, with the death of the Apostles, there was a differentiation in the usage of the synonymous terms, giving rise to the appearance of two distinct offices, bishop and presbyter. The bishop was understood mainly as the president of the council of presbyters, and so the bishop came to be distinguished both in honor and in prerogative from the presbyters, who were seen as deriving their authority by means of delegation from the bishop. The distinction between presbyter and bishop is made fairly soon after the Apostolic period, as is seen in the 2nd century writings of St. Ignatius of Antioch, who uses the terms consistently and clearly to refer to two different offices (along with deacon).

Is this the standard Orthodox understanding of the history of the presbyterate and of the New Testament on the relation between the presbyters and the episkopoi? Unfortunately no sources are given for these points in the article. Are there any historical sources that explain the separation of the two orders and the justification for the presbyterate deriving the power to exercise their office from the bishop?

A Defense That Actually Highlights the Problem

CWR: The shepherds we need—or the shepherds I want? by Fr. Charles Fox
Bishops are vital to the Church’s life and mission, they face incredibly difficult pastoral situations every day, and they deserve to be treated with justice and mercy, just like anyone else.

Just one difficulty with applying this secular approach to criticism of the bishops is that the bishops did not choose their positions of authority. They were chosen. “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you” (Jn 15:16), Our Lord told His first bishops at the Last Supper.
But isn’t it true that ambition helped propel some of our bishops down the path towards the episcopacy? In all probability, yes. But this admission does not change the more fundamental truth that the Church, in the person of the Pope, chooses priests to become bishops. And so it is unjust to think of public criticism as “part of the package” of the life they have chosen for themselves. 
Criticism will always come to every leader, but the critic, especially one who purports to be a devout Catholic, has his own moral responsibility to make sure that both the substance and the form of his criticism are appropriately just and merciful.

The problem? Latin bishops are selected by the bishop of Rome, usually with the assistance of the papal nuncio to the country in question, who solicits suggestions from bishops and others of that country. Do any of the people who are involved in this election process have sufficient personal knowledge of the candidates that if one of the candidates were accused of sexual misconduct, they could state that they believe he is innocent, even if the allegations are "credible"?  And we must also consider that transferring bishops from one see to another happens regularly in the patriarchate of Rome, and outsiders are often installed in the see of a diocese. Let us be clear, the naming of bishops by Rome is not a practice that dates back to Sts. Peter and Paul. (And of course the bishop of Rome should not be naming or even "confirming" non-Latin bishops. He should only acknowledge and perhaps congratulate non-Latin bishops upon their election and consecration/installation.)

What should be happening instead? The local Church should choosing its bishop, whether the naming of candidates be by a select few, the presbyteral synod, or with the involvement of the Christian people as well. At the very least they should be able to affirm or reject candidates based on personal familiarity with the character of the candidate? Should the election of one candidate from the many be by lot? Or by voting? These details do not matter at the moment, as we are nowhere near to restoring this ancient custom to the Latin churches. But we should be making some sort of movement to that custom where possible. If it is not possible because the scale of the local Church is too large, then that needs to be changed. If it is not possible because the people are not sufficiently catechized and cannot judge accurately the character of their presbyters and prominent laymen, then maybe the juridical status of the local Church should be abolished and replaced with a mission territory.

This is not to say that any of the other patriarchates or national churches or what have you are completely free of this problem. But is there any jurisdiction which is as centralized as the patriarchate of Rome in this regard?

Catholic Life Series - Life In The Divine Image - Dr. Reinhard Huetter

FC2019 Plenary Lecture: "Is Friendship Possible?" by Alasdair MacIntyre

Monday, March 30, 2020

Dominican Catechesis

A Meditation by Dom Pius de Hemptinne

He was a Benedictine (1879–1907), a disciple of Dom Columba Marmion.


A Latin view, with an emphasis almost solely on our Lord's death and no mention of the Resurrection, and of course the key word is sacrifice, but there is no definition of that word to be found here at least:

THE DEATH OF A GOD, dying for the salvation of men, is the central point in the history of mankind. All ages bear witness to and converge towards it: the preceding centuries point to its coming, the others are destined to harvest its fruits.

The death of Christ is the centre of history, and also the centre of the life of each man in particular. In the eyes of God every man will be great in proportion as he takes part in that deed; for the only true and eternal dignity is that belonging to the divine Priest. The degree of each one’s holiness will be in exact proportion as he participates in that bloody immolation. For the Lamb of God alone is holy.

But although Jesus Christ the divine High Priest appeared only once on earth, to offer up His great sacrifice on Calvary; yet, every day He appears in the person of each one of His ministers, to renew His sacrifice on the altar. In every altar, then, Calvary is seen: every altar becomes an august place, the Holy of holies, the source of all holiness. Thither all must go to seek Life, and thither all must continually return, as to the source of God’s mercies.

A True Believer?

Following upon this post; some videos which reveal Charles Taylor's attitudes towards multiculturalism, diversity, and immigration.

Fr. Hunwicke on the Commemoration of New Saints in the EF


Latin "Integralism"

Tied to a notion of the Papal [ordinary] Magisterium which can make sense only from a maximalist view of the papacy.

The Josias: Coronavirus and Public Masses: An Integralist Perspective by Felix de St. Vincent
In the integralist understanding, the civil authority is subject to the law of the ecclesiastical authority. In Immortale dei, Leo XIII reminds us that nature and reason confirm, “we are bound absolutely to worship God in that way which He has shown to be His will” (Par. 6).

Speculation on Prelapsarian Human Nature

How far can one take it? And why should one take St. Maximos the Confessor as THE expression of Tradition on these points?

Orthodox Christian Theology: How Does Grief Demonstrate Our Original Sin?

If passions, like sadness (or "grief") is a consequence of the Fall, then it is because death is a consequence of the Fall and so we suffer loss and are sad as a result. But what does it mean that sadness is "blameworthy"? Are there no legitimate reasons for being sad, because we have suffered a loss? Is it only legitimate to feel sad out of compassion for the suffering for others? This seems too strict or rigorist to me. 
Saint Maximus taught that sadness is in fact a blameworthy passion that is the result of the fall—a stain of original sin. In the Questions to Thalassius he writes that after the Fall:
[T[he great and innumerable mob of passions was introduced into human life and corrupted it. Thus our life became filled with much groaning…If, on the other hand, our condition of self-love is distressed by pain, then we give birth to anger, envy, hate, enmity, remembrance of past injuries, reproach, slander, oppression, sorrow, hopelessness, despair, the denial of providence, torpor, negligence, despondency, discouragement, faint-heartedness, grief out of season, weeping and wailing, dejection, lamentation, envy, jealousy, spite, and whatever else is produced by our inner disposition when it is deprived of occasions for pleasure. (1.2.15)
Now, many may contend with Maximus’ teaching by saying Jesus “groaned” (John 11:34) and “wept” (John 11:35). We must be careful to read these passages in a Christologically orthodox way.
We know that Jesus “was tempted in every way,” but we also know that “God cannot be tempted by evil” (James 1:13). So, we must understand He was “tempted in every way, WITHOUT SIN” (the Greek does not necessarily include the word “but.”)

In other words, He was tempted in every blameless, without sin. sort of way—hunger, thirst, pain, privation—but not by sinful temptations such as sex, avarice, and the like. I have covered in detail elsewhere that Jesus Christ voluntarily assumed blameless passions, which were in fact not inherent to His sinless human nature as by nature flesh that is sinless, like Adam’s in paradise, experiences none of these things. However, Jesus did voluntarily experience these things as it was naturally possible for Him to. Adamite (prelapsarian) flesh is not glorified flesh—it can contain fallen aspects naturally because the fall did really occur in the prelapsarian flesh, turning it into postlapsarian flesh. Prelapsarian flesh tends towards immortality, but it is not truly immortal until it is glorified. Glorified flesh cannot experience the fall. So, Enoch, Elijah, Moses, Mary, and others (if they exist) with resurrected bodies cannot fall into sin like Adam and Eve, because they have glorified bodies. This, for them, would be an impossibility.

This being said, we must be careful not to assume Jesus weeps for the same reason we grieve. We often grieve because we feel an intense, sorrow due to personal loss or some sort of self-love. Jesus did not experience this sort of sorrow, which Maximus states is from the passions.

Weeping that arises from the blameless passions is much different. For example, weeping from laughter is not the same as grief. Weeping from hitting one’s thumb with a hammer also is not the same as grief. Weeping out of compassion and empathy is also not the same as grief.
When Jesus wept, this does not mean he was weeping from grief—which clearly the
Theotokos did during her son’s crucifixion.

As a brief aside, while grief and weeping from such are blameworthy passions, only the consent of the will to despondency is sin. So, our Orthodox icons of the Theotokos and Saint John weeping at the crucifixion is not a terrible example of sin—this would be absurd. It is a demonstration of God’s people, with postlapsarian flesh, experiencing grief as we all do. They were not despondent and so did not sin. Saint Basil (Letter 260, Par 9) and Saint Maximus (Life of the Virgin, Par 53) both speak of the Theotokos having instant healing from precisely this predicament.

The preceding being said, how did Jesus weep? First, let’s plainly look at what the Scriptures indicate. In John 11:31 there are “Jews” consoling Mary and Martha. It is not clear whether they were professional mourners (Jer 9:17), but they wept with Mary and Martha (John 11:33) akin to those wailing for a ruler’s dead daughter in Matt 9:23. Clearly, community-mourning was some sort of social custom in Judea. Contextually, we must understand that Jesus was joining in this social custom, which He was obviously accustomed to. What he was not doing was grieving the death of Lazarus, as He was calm four days beforehand being fully cognizant of its occurrence. Clearly, Jesus was showing pity for Mary and those there, joining in the community mourning.

Tradivox, Again

Tradivox: Where Latin tradition of the second millenium is identified with the Tradition of the Church Universal.

1P5: Tradivox: Bringing Solid Catechisms to the Hungry Faithful

Which catechism is the best?
We get asked this constantly, and the answer really depends on how you measure. A few certainly stand out. The Roman Catechism remains the most authoritative. There are the priceless historical works of Saints Canisius and Bellarmine. The excellent little catechism of Pope St. Pius X must be mentioned, and the extensively reprinted Baltimore Catechism comes to mind for many Americans. These would be a few of the more significant texts in the genre.
Are these your own personal favorites?
Actually, no. My personal favorites are some of the more obscure texts, mostly for devotional reasons. I’ve grown to deeply love the Catholic martyrs and confessors from the early years of the Anglican schism, so there are several catechisms “baptized in blood” from that period that are dear to me — Vaux, Turberville, Doulye, and White, to name a few. The later, more compendious works of Bp. George Hay and Fr. Michael Müller are some other favorites.
The catechisms must all have fascinating histories.
Yes, there are so many stories. We try to give some of that backdrop in the preface of each volume, hoping to assist readers in experiencing a greater spiritual kinship with our Catholic forebears. I recall one man sharing with us that after reading Volume 1 of our Index, he not only learned things about the Faith that he had never heard (after years of Catholic schooling), but was also deeply moved by reading with awareness that these texts were very much written “by martyrs, for martyrs.”

Sunday, March 29, 2020


The Eucharist Makes the Church

Public Orthodoxy: The Church without the Eucharist Is No Longer the Church
A (telephone) conversation with Metropolitan of Pergamon John Zizioulas (March 23, 2020)

(also published here)

"I don’t agree with the Divine Liturgy being transmitted by television. I’m confined to my home and will not be able to attend Liturgy. However, I will not turn the television on in order to watch the Liturgy. I consider that an expression of impiety. It is impious for someone to sit and watch the Liturgy."

Eucharistic Living without the Eucharist by Nicholas Denysenko

Do the Sacraments Prevent Illness? A Survey of Liturgical Sources by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Denysenko

No Danger of Disease from Holy Communion, Scientific Studies Say by Fr. Joseph Gleason

"Transubstantiation" in the Byzantine Tradition?

Eclectic Orthodoxy: Transubstantiation: Maybe Dositheos Got It Right by the Very Rev. Christiaan Kappes, S.L.D., Ph.L., Ph.D.

Protopresbyter Maxym Lysack on the Jesus Prayer

"The Truth Will Set You Free," Rev. Julián Carrón

The Lord's Prayer in Aramaic/Syriac

Saturday, March 28, 2020

CL NYE 2020 What Can Free Us From Ideology?



From the second part:


In my unhumble opinion, the sensible and real choices are either to argue
(1) that the CDF should be asked to reconsider the matter of the Advent and Pre-Lent Prefaces; or
(2) that the Roman Rite, with its severely and primitive binitarian instincts, does not favour the imposition of a Trinitarian character on most of the Sundays of the year, so we should go back to the pre-1759 situation and use simply the Common Preface on Sundays through Advent and Pre-Lent; or
(3) that Sunday is by nature Trinitarian; as long ago as the pre-Gregorian exemplar which Moelcaich the scribe of the Stowe Missal copied, the preface has had a Trinitarian character ... rather as it does in the Byzantine Rite. So ... back to Clement XIII.

Setting aside the question of the prefaces -- Will the prayers of the Roman rite ever develop to the point that the Holy Spirit is included? One cannot force a patriarchate to "properly receive" the teachings of an Ecumenical Council, but can one oppose such a development in the name of "tradition" which is really just ideological conservatism?

The Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts

Fr Maximos Constans on the Spiritual Life

Eclectic Orthodoxy: Archimandrite Maximos Constas on the Spiritual Life

John Cavidini on Co-Responsibility

Church Life Journal: Co-Responsibility: An Antidote to Clericalizing the Laity? by John Cavadini

An attempt at a solution to clericalism.

One of the fruits of the Diocese of Rome’s heightened attention to the pastoral work of the parishes, he says, was that it:

Helped to develop in the parishes, religious communities, associations and movements a consciousness of belonging to the one People of God which, as the Apostle Peter said, God made his own: “that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him”(1 Pt 2: 9).

To cite this verse is to invoke the People of God as a royal priesthood, with each member sharing, on the basis of his or her baptism, in the priesthood of Christ: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” The theology of co-responsibility begins by invoking Vatican II’s rediscovery of the priesthood of the baptized, the mystery of the People of God as a royal priesthood, with each member ordered towards the prophetic, royal and priestly vocation to “declare the wonderful deeds of him who called [us] out of darkness into his marvelous light,” that is, to mission, to evangelization. [emphasis mine]

1 Peter 2:4-5 RSV CE
Come to him, to that living stone, rejected by men but in God’s sight chosen and precious; and like living stones be yourselves built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 

1 Peter 2:9 RSV CE
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people,[a] that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
The Greek:
Πρὸς ὃν προσερχόμενοι , λίθον ζῶντα, ὑπὸ ἀνθρώπων μὲν ἀποδεδοκιμασμένον, παρὰ δὲ Θεῷ ἐκλεκτὸν ἔντιμον, καὶ αὐτοὶ ὡς λίθοι ζῶντες,  οἰκοδομεῖσθε οἶκος πνευματικὸς εἰς ἱεράτευμα ἅγιον, ἀνενέγκαι πνευματικὰς θυσίας εὐπροσδέκτους [τῷ] Θεῷ διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ.

Ὑμεῖς δὲ γένος ἐκλεκτόν, βασίλειον ἱεράτευμα, ἔθνος ἅγιον,  λαὸς εἰς περιποίησιν, ὅπως τὰς ἀρετὰς ἐξαγγείλητε τοῦ ἐκ σκότους ὑμᾶς καλέσαντος, εἰς τὸ θαυμαστὸν αὐτοῦ φῶς....

The definition of priesthood, it would seem, is tied to sacrifice. Thus the popular might be that the baptized faithful offer spiritual sacrifices while the ordained priests/bishops offer Christ in the Eucharist (in which the baptized faithful also participate). Lumen Gentium §10, cited in this article, can be read as an elaboration of this basic distinction. But how is sacrifice to be understood? What if sacrifice instead is tied to declaring "the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light" as a part of the thanksgiving integral to sacrifice, so that this is not to be considered "evangelization" as Benedict XVI and Cavidini are interpreting the words of St. Peter, but rather an elaboration of what it is to be a a priest, remembering the saving works of God and giving thanks to God whether in the assembly of the ekklesia or in private prayers to God?

If this objection holds, does it affect Cavidini's conclusions? Not necessarily. The conclusions may be dependent upon a distinction between the roles (or functions) of the episcopate/presbyterate and that of the Christian laity (as Latins have traditionally used the term), but they may hold even if we have to tweak the distinction only slightly.
In other words, the ordained ministry is not ordered towards itself, but rather it is the priestly people towards which the ordained priesthood is ordered, and that priesthood retains its fundamental character as the share in Christ’s priesthood, which constitutes the Church. On the other hand, when the baptized exercise their royal priesthood in evangelization, it is not just to spread knowledge of the Word of God dislocated from its ecclesial home, for then it is not really a priesthood, since the communion of the Church is communion in Christ’s sacrifice. Evangelization is intended to bring people to the encounter with the Risen Lord which is incorporation into the Eucharistic body through configuration to Christ’s sacrifice.

The priesthood of the baptized, as a priesthood, flows from the one sacrifice of Christ and its exercise is thus intrinsically ordered towards it. That means it cannot be exercised fully apart from the ministry of the ordained, nor is it truly exercised if it tends toward the rupture of communion instead of towards building communion. This would include evangelizing activity that rejected the authoritative teaching of the magisterium, or undertaken in defiance of legitimate hierarchical authority. At the same time, it does not mean permission is necessary: “there is no need of a supplementary mandate from the hierarchy” to exercise the duty to proclaim Christ which comes “by virtue of the grace of baptism” (Torrell, 130). The two priesthoods are mutually inter-related, and thus we have co-responsibility for the being and acting of the Church.

However, I do think it is a mistake to link evangelization to the royal priesthood of the Christian faithful, as if it were the main function of that priesthood, rather than thanksgiving. Cavidini writes later:

The royal priesthood remains primary as the end towards which the ministerial priesthood is ordered: “The Christian minister is not defined uniquely in relation to the Eucharistic body, but also, by this very fact, to its mystical Body, of which he is put in charge at his own level of responsibility” (ibid.). On the other hand, the exercise of the baptismal priesthood is always to promote the spiritual sacrifice to which all people are called, and thus is ordered towards the communion of the Church, effected only through the sacramental ministry of priests. Torrell points out that “The Eucharist is presented not only as the center of the whole sacramental organism, but also as ‘the source and apex of all the work of preaching the gospel,’” as we have seen. “What this means,” he comments later, “is that evangelization is not only ‘launched’ from the celebration of Eucharistic worship, whence it has its fecundity, but that it ‘lands’ there, because it is only by the Eucharist that the full insertion of believers into the Body of Christ is achieved” (ibid. 181).
 As this stands, if there is no further elaboration about what spiritual sacrifice means, it is mostly unobjectionable.
This is another way of saying that a priest whose priestly ministry is obviously and visibly ordered toward the building up of the leadership of the laity in the mission and acting of the Church, and not necessarily towards running it, administering it, organizing it, and supervising it and subordinating it to its own ministry. It also means recognizing it (cf. Nichols, 154).
Such an ordained ministry implies its co-responsible complement, too. The true exercise of the baptismal priesthood is not free lancing independent of the ecclesial community or its communion in the Eucharist for which it is dependent on the ordained minister. Nor is it exercised independent of the authoritative teaching of those in apostolic succession. There is no true exercise of the baptismal priesthood independent of leadership proper to Holy Orders. The two kinds of leadership are co-responsibly related. We can see models of this in some of the heroic leaders leading up to the Council. Dorothy Day, for instance, led a whole new movement in evangelization, completely on her own initiative. Her partnerships with various priests, and Fr. Pacifique Roy, were studies in co-responsibility for the mission and being of the Church,[5] for she centered her movement’s life around the Eucharist and thus the ordained priesthood, and, though she did not ask Cardinal Spellman for permission to operate, she never defied him on matters pertaining to his teaching and pastoral authority, and fostered, rather than broke, communion.
A Church in which the center of gravity has, as it were, shifted, in which the co-responsible leadership of those exercising the priesthood of the baptized was the norm, would be a Church we seem not to have really imagined yet. We have since Vatican II operated with a mindset that has not absorbed its major insights in ecclesiology because, I think, we have decided to analyze the call for lay participation as a call for increased "power" of the laity but in a structure that is essentially intact, one that is excessively clericalized and thus ironically secularized, reduced thereby to a power structure conceived independently of its ordering towards a “mystery of communion.”

It is probably uncontroversial say that Dorothy Day was thea leader of the Catholic Worker movement in the United States, if not the leader. (Fr. Peter Maurin could be considered the other, until his death.) It is also probably uncontroversial to say that she was some sort of feminist, even if she wasn't a suffragette and did not call herself a feminist. An appropriate example of "lay leadership" or co-responsibility, or a politically correct one?

Lay people do have their own sphere of action, the political arrangement where they are to be found. There some may be leaders of others. (Hence "traditional" notions of leadership are incompatible with feminism, though most American academics support it or at least outwardly do so.) But it should also be stated that with respect to the life of the local Church (whether one think of the local Church as the grouping of parishes, or the parish as a manifestation of the local Church), the Christian laity also have a leadership role. While the presbyterate/episcopate have authority as teachers and oversight over certain activities touching upon "faith and morals," there are likely limits to the authority they have with respect to the latter. Oversight may entail only the power of approval or sanctioning an activity, and not necessarily leadership.The limits to the authority of the presbyterate/episcopate with respect to the life of the Church need to be explored further.

Straying from Tradition?

Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy: Review: “For the Life of the World” (Ecumenical Patriarchate Social Document)

Is von Balthasar an Universalist?

Latin traditionalists hold his universalism against von Balthasar and Ressourcement in general. Have Thomists moved beyond that?

CWR Dispatch: Did Hans Urs von Balthasar teach that everyone will certainly be saved? by Mark Brumley
Whatever Balthasar’s position is, and whether or not it is correct, it isn’t universalism.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Greeks Pushing for Deaconesses

Public Orthodoxy: Deaconesses: An Orthodox Institution Untheologically Blocked by Petros Vassiliadis
The necessity of an immediate restoration of the order of deaconesses, the history of the decision to hold the symposium at this particular moment, as well as its expectations, were presented at the opening session. The first and primary reason for convening the symposium was to encourage the traditional access of women to the sacramental “diaconal” priesthood. Unlike the general issue and demand for women ordination into episcopacy and the “hierurgic” priesthood, the symposium  aimed at highlighting the diaconal character of the Christian faith, and not the redistribution of power within the Church. As Prof. Dn. John Chryssavgis underlined, we should perceive and practice “the diaconal ministry not as a stepping-stone to the priesthood or episcopate, but as a symbol of the vocation of every Christian (male and female) to serve. It is (he is convinced) today more than ever before, harder to be a deacon in the Orthodox Church than it is to be a priest or a bishop. Unfortunately, centuries of hardened clericalism, ecclesiastical illiteracy, and blatant disregard for the diaconate have rendered it almost impossible for people in our church—clergy and laity—to appreciate how the diaconate should inform every aspect of pastoral leadership and church ministry.…If we do not understand the diaconia, we cannot understand the other ranks of priesthood…even the role of the laity in the Church…The authentic image of the Church that we should be seeking—in our minds as in our ministry—is that of a dinner table, not that of a corporate ladder. The Church is not a pyramid, where all attention and authority are turned toward the summit. Instead, we should imagine the Church as a sacrament, where the primary and essential focus is the celebration of the Eucharist.”
Chryssavgis is making the "diaconate" the model for understanding Christian service, though Christian service is not fully explained here, nor how it is different from the life of agape. Often in English translations of Matthew 20:28 and Mark 10:45 there is an interpolation of "others" which is not present in the Greek, so that it reads "[the Son of Man came...] to serve others." This is not warranted by the Greek original. Whom does the Son serve? Not us, but God, the Father. Is the "diaconate" a kind of service to God? Yes. Are Christians to be servants of God? Yes. Does that mean the diaconate does not need to be reformed? No. But do we need to restore the order of deaconesses? To me it does not seem obvious that this is necessary, except perhaps in female religious communities.

Except for extreme cases, Orthodox women are never entrusted, as in the Early Church, with leading roles in the Church’s ministry, the only exception being—especially in the East—the order of deaconesses. The gender ambivalence of ritual is revealed by the dichotomy between theology and practice. While the Orthodox liturgy includes female saint veneration and reputes the Theotokos as “more honorable than the Cherubim, and more glorious beyond compare than the Seraphim”—that is above the world of the celestial beings—down on earth women are excluded from joining the superior clergy to the rank of deaconesses.

The Old Testament, of course, exemplifies patriarchal bias in many ways, notably in the metaphor of woman coming out of man (Gen 1:22). It is inescapable, however, that this was corrected in the New Testament, by the explicit Pauline statement that when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman” (Gal 4:4). God becoming incarnate “from a woman” is a reversal of woman “coming out of man.”

Should we call this Modernism? It certainly is a questionable take on the interpretation of Scripture.

Incontro con DON JULIÁN CARRÓN 19/06/2018

Amitai Etzioni on "Moral Wrestling"

Who will be his successor when the time comes?

CNA/CWR: Fr Julian Carron re-elected president of Communion and Liberation

A Latin Suggestion

CNA/CWR: Can’t go to confession during coronavirus? Consider an ‘act of perfect contrition’

Father Pius Pietrzyk, OP, chair of pastoral studies at St. Patrick's Seminary in Menlo Park, California, told CNA that “perfect contrition” is sorrow for one's sins based upon love for God, which includes the firm resolution not to commit them any more.

When contrition arises from “a love by which God is loved above all else, contrition is called ‘perfect,’” the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches.

The catechism explains that perfect contrition “remits venial sins; it also obtains forgiveness of mortal sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible.”

Imperfect contrition, also known as attrition— sorrow for one’s sins based upon fear of the punishment of Hell— is sufficient for a priest to absolve you in the confessional, but not enough to obtain the forgiveness of mortal sin without sacramental confession to a priest, the catechism explains.

If it arises from "a love by which God is loved above all else," is that not charity? If one already has charity back, infused by God, then what need for sacramental confession, except to fulfill an obligation or to ease one's misgivings about not going to confession when he should or to "make sure" that one has been forgiven? After all, a mortal sin destroys charity; charity is completely removed from someone who has committed a moral sin. It cannot be restored by the sinner's own power, but by God alone.

I don't think Latins would disagree that an act of perfect contrition, if such a thing exists in relation to a sinner who seeks the sacrament of confession but it is unavailable, can be only a gift from God and cannot be presumed, and it is not identical to attrition or regret or human repentance.

See this Latin explanation: Soteriology: Implicit Perfect Contrition.

Instead of speaking of a sinner's contrition or attrition and attempting to define such things, should we focus instead on the sinner being moved by the Holy Spirit and cooperating with the Holy Spirit? That may leave the pastoral question of what we are to do if we are repentant after committing a mortal sin, but I think that presuming that we have perfect contrition is too much. Would it not be better to encourage the sinner to avail himself of confession when it becomes available and to trust in the mercy of God? After all, even according to Latin moral theologians, the sinner cannot have moral certainty that his perfect contrition is truly perfect contrition, and he should seek confession. Theological speculation about perfect contrition cannot substitute for the moral certainty a sinner needs when he is judging himself and his own acts.

Icon of St. Benedict

Reconstructing Democracy

First Things: Two Cheers for Charles Taylor and Friends by Carl R. Trueman

Reconstructing Democracy: How Citizens Are Building from the Ground Up by Charles Taylor, Patrizia Nanz, and Madeleine Beaubien Taylor

Taylor holds on to leftists delusions about the conditions/requirements of communal life. Academics need to get out into the real world.

FIUV Press Release on the CDF Decrees on New Prefaces

Rorate Caeli: New Prefaces and new Saints: Press Release from the FIUV



Wednesday, March 25, 2020

The Byzantine Liturgy of St. James

Passion Service

A Tabernacle with Icons and a Reliquary

St. Gregory I the Great

Following Luther?

First Thing: “Wittenberg” in Synodal Slow Motion by George Weigel

Jerry Salyer on Jacques Maritain

1P5: Jacques Maritain: Visionary or Leftist Ideologue? by Jerry Salyer

Saul Alinsky and Jacques Maritain by Christopher Blosser
Saul Alinsky and "Saint" Pope Paul VI: Genesis of the Conciliar Surrender to the World by Christopher A. Ferrara

The Philosopher and the Provocateur. The Correspondence of Jacques Maritain and Saul Alinsky. Edited by Bernard Doering. University of Notre Dame Press. 118 pages. $25.95.

Did it go out of print? Not seeing it at the UND website.

New Preface Options for the EF Missal

Some Latin traditionalists will probably complain. Maybe there is a legitimate critique of how they were composed -- would skilled liturgical scholars of the past approve of these new prefaces?




Icon of the Annunciation

Blessed Feast of the Annunciation

Petros Gaitanos et al.

Aidan Hart Reviews Treasure in a Box


Institute of Sacred Arts


Monday, March 23, 2020

Eastern Christian Books: John Jillions on God's Guidance in the World

Eastern Christian Books: John Jillions on God's Guidance in the World

Discernment of spirits, part of the Christian patrimony, "East and West":

AD: At the very end of your last chapter, you briefly work in Lev Gillet and also Kallistos Ware. Tell us a bit more about their experience and relevance to your study. 
Their experience, as recounted in the book, is of interest because it took place in the context of an academic study at Oxford University on religious experience. The Alister Hardy Religious Experience Research Centre, which is now based at the University of Wales, was collecting thousands of accounts of religious experience in the 1970s. As a way of reflecting on all this material interviewed a number of scholars, theologians and pastors about how they understand this persistent phenomenon.

Interviewed separately, Fr Lev Gillet and Fr Kallistos Ware (as he was then) gave very similar criteria for evaluating such experiences. They said it must be repeated. It can be short and authoritative, or come through gradual “infiltration by God.” It can be tested by asking others who understand your problem to pray for a solution and to ask for guidance, and see whether the answers converge. But the most definitive criterion is to pay attention to the feelings and actions that the experience produces. “Does this guidance create in you sorrow, bitterness, hatred? Or does it create in you joy and love for God and other people? Judge the tree according to its fruit.”

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Longing in Dorian Mode


Videos on Exorcism

A Quick Response to DBH?

Would this be sufficient for him?

Universalism may be true but it may be false in so far as it is possible that I may reject God and "end up in Hell."

Monday, March 16, 2020

Written by a Latin

"It is a time for them to challenge themselves and us, their priests and flocks, as to whether the Tabernacle changes who and how we are as human beings. Do we miss Our Lord? Do we long for Him?"

Objectification of the Eucharist.


Remember that charge against Joseph Ratzinger about denying the Real Presence? Papal Heresies.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

COVID-19 Adjustments Elsewhere

CNA/CWR: Catholic and Orthodox Churches in Ukraine consider how to distribute Communion

St. Gregory Palamas on Theosis

St. Gregory Deification (Theosis)

We Are Partakers of the Divine: Sermon on the Sunday of St. Gregory Palamas
The goal of the striving of fasting, the striving of all our struggles – of repentance, prayer, and our entreaties – is to aspire toward the unveiling in us of the image of God inscribed in our nature and essence by the hand of God the Creator Himself. It becomes easier to breathe, life becomes better, and we become purer when we see where we are going, why we are going, and what we should ask God for.
Archpriest Vsevolod Shpiller (+1984)

The Teaching of St Gregory Palamas: Theosis is Possible Through the Uncreated Energies Of God

St. Gregory Palamas and the Tradition of the Fathers by Fr. George Florovsky

An Exaggeration?

The Byzantine emphasis on monasteries is historical. But is it warranted? Prayer is important for all Christians, that is true at least.

I have seen critiques of "gerondism" here and there but I don't know if the critiques are correct.

Don’t Look for New Ideals. The Monastic Life Has Always Been an Example for the Laity

“Let’s be Christians Twenty-Four Hours a Day”: A Conversation with an Athonite Ascetic by Hieroschemamonk Ștefan Nuțescu

God Is Not Nice

Thursday, March 12, 2020

What Is an Icon?

Some Latin Traditionalists Would Probably Oppose This Too

"If there is a pastoral need for this, we can have prayers said after Mass by the people."


What Is Baptism without Chrismation?

The unanswered question Western Christians should be asking.

What Is Baptism? by Peter J. Leithart

Shaun Blanchard on "Jansenism"

Church Life: From Jansenism to Humanae Vitae: The Long History of Catholic Dissent by Shaun Blanchard

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

American Eastern Catholic Bishops

"The Synodal Way"

CWR Dispatch: New President of the German Bishops’ Conference speaks about the “German” Church by Martin Lohmann
Bishop Georg Bätzing makes no secret of his enthusiasm for the so-called Synodal Way. He mentions it repeatedly. Again and again.

"although the day before the Bishops’ Conference met the rumor could be heard that he was the clear favorite, especially of the bishops from Southern Germany."

The churches in Southern Germany must be in worse shape than I thought.

CNA/CWR: Women deacons possible after ‘Synodal Way,’ says German bishops’ chairman

Monday, March 09, 2020

Eastern Christian Books: Deification Through the Cross

Eastern Christian Books: Deification Through the Cross

Eerdmans: Deification through the Cross: An Eastern Christian Theology of Salvation by Khaled Anatolios
Anatolios uses the phrase “doxological contrition” to suggest that the truth of salvation is found both in Jesus’s perfect glorification of God and in his representative repentance for humanity’s sinful rejection of its original calling to participate in the life of the Holy Trinity.

I personally don't see the need to combine Byzantine and Latin views of soteriology in this way but apparently Anatolios does.

Sunday, March 08, 2020

50+ Years of the Pauline Reform

Translation of the liturgy into the vernacular, etc. and we still have devotions like this that are gaining to popularity, which have replaced a proper understanding of our adoption by the Father as sons in Christ. The Holy Family has supplanted the Trinity.

CNA/CWR: Why a new consecration to St. Joseph is spreading like wildfire


Sandro Magister: The Most Beautiful Document of This Pontificate. Which Almost Nobody Has Read


Saturday, March 07, 2020

A Confusion Regarding the Christian Priesthood

What Catholic clergy and laity have in common: a Gospel mission
There are also important distinctions in the priesthood of all baptized Christians and those who are priests and bishops by virtue of sacramental ordination. The hierarchical priesthood is not simply “more of the same priesthood that the baptized have,” he added. “It’s not a super priesthood somehow completing, displacing or superseding the common priesthood.”

At the same time, there is a “priesthood which marks the whole Church as a priestly people.” This does not imply “that there is an ‘inner Church’ of ‘super Christians’ and that that is the hierarchy,” because that falls into the error of clericalism.

“if baptism confers a priesthood, it means it confers a participation in the sacrifice of Christ which, made present in the Eucharist, makes the Church,” Cavadini said.

“The exercise of this priesthood, then is ordered towards communion, and evangelization, if it is truly an exercise of the baptismal priesthood, is intended to bring people to the encounter with the Risen Lord, which is the incorporation into the eucharistic body, through configuration to Christ’s sacrifice.”

McGrath Center

What would Latins know about synodality at this point?

CNA/CWR: Pope Francis announces a 2022 synod on synodality

Related: Eastern Christian Books: Shaun Blanchard on Jansenism, Pistoia, and Catholic Historiography

Tuesday, March 03, 2020

Opening the Remaining Archives of Pius XII

CWR: History Redeemed: Justice for Pope Pius XII by William Doino, Jr.
The March 2nd opening of the last remaining archives from Pius XII’s pontificate will likely reinforce what historians already know about the war-time pontiff’s actions on behalf of endangered Jews.

Time to Move the Chairs on the Deck Again

"Younger." Sure.

CNA/CWR: German bishops’ elect new conference chairman

Erstes Pressestatement von Bischof Bätzing nach seiner Wahl zum Vorsitzenden der DBK
Der neue Vorsitzende der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz Bischof Georg Bätzing zu seiner Wahl

Monastère Saint-Benoît


via Fr. Z

A Product of Western "Semi-Arianism"?

For contemporary monothelites, by contrast, Jesus’s humanity is firmly in the driver’s seat. To the extent that we may say that Jesus is divine, this is at best a secondary claim, derived from the historical Jesus, the product of a scientific quest.

First Things: Jesus: Less Than Divine by Hans Boersma