April 24, 2014

The Colloquium and Pope Francis

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Several weeks ago I spent a weekend with Catholic and Orthodox scholars in a colloquium titled "Liberty, Society, and the Economy in Modern Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Thought." I am a parish priest, not an academic, which means I approach the big questions from what I call a "rubber meets the road" perspective. I start with the problem or issue that I am thrust into and work out from there. It's real, sometimes messy, and almost exclusively existentialist. That also meant that I approached the colloquium as a student and did not have much to contribute until the how the ideas we discussed applied to everyday people in everyday life. That's the world in which I practice my vocation so that has become my area of expertise. The practical dimension was welcomed especially by the academics who, as most of us know, can distance themselves from the concrete consequences of ideas and sometimes fail to distinguish the power of one idea over another. It's a professional hazard … [Read more...]

Orthodox Bishops Assembly Silent on Moral Issues

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By John Couretas - At an October 1970 meeting of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the Americas (SCOBA), which was called to discuss the burning question of an independent American Church, the presiding conference chair Archbishop Iakovos got fed up and quit. Official letters raising the subject of independence had been sent to the “mother Churches” in Constantinople, Bucharest, Belgrade, Athens and other Orthodox “centers” pointing for the need to do something about the chaotic “situation of Orthodoxy in America.” Only three replies came back. To the Greek Orthodox Iakovos, this was proof that no one took SCOBA seriously and, for that matter, the American Orthodox. The archbishop resigned from SCOBA in disgust, saying that he had no desire to be the head of a “dead body.” According to a contemporary account, the official minutes of the meeting were forged to cover up what would turn out to be a temporary … [Read more...]

Orthodox and Catholics Face the Same Challenges

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Making common cause against secularism and other maladies of the modern era with the Catholic Church is a wise course. The Russian Orthodox Church approves (see my articles on Catholic Online). But how will Constantinople respond? Below is a press release where Pope Benedict sounds the same theme in a message to Pat. Bartholomew of Constantinople. It will be interesting to see what Constantinople's response will be, if any. Apart from environmental care, they have not addressed secularism, the demographic implosion of the West (including abortion), ethical issues, and other critical problem facing Western culture in any substantive or comprehensive ways in years. Care for the environment is close to Pat. Bartholomew's heart but even there most of the thinking remains trapped in the polemics of Progressive ideology (global warming, supporting international cap and trade legislation, embracing secular apocalyptic scenarios, and so forth), while the Vatican frames environmental care in … [Read more...]

Death Warrant of Ancient Christianity

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If American liberals and neo-cons get their way and America invades Syria, the Syrian Christians will be persecuted and forced out of their ancient homeland. Source: Real Clear Politics | Philip Jenkins Ever since the wave of popular movements started sweeping the Middle East, Western media have rarely found much good to say about the authoritarian regimes under attack. Few observers deny that the last generation or so of Arab rulers were indeed greedy despots, and it seems desirable for Western powers to intervene as forcefully as they can on behalf of what are commonly billed as pro-democracy movements. The arguments against intervention are obvious enough, most obviously that it is much easier to begin a military intervention than to end it, while we rarely have much idea about the political character of the supposed democrats we are trying to aid. But in one case above all, namely Syria, debates over intervention have missed one overwhelming argument, which is the … [Read more...]

Peter Kreeft: Moral exhortations

H/T: Mere Orthodoxy Peter Kreeft is an incisive social thinker who draws from Catholic social teaching for insight into the deeper currents of American culture. The Orthodox and Catholics see eye to eye on many of his points. … [Read more...]