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