April 19, 2014

Roepke was right

Wilhelm Roepke

In my Winter 2007 article on economic globalization for AGAIN Magazine, I quoted economist Wilhelm Roepke: Economically ignorant moralism is as objectionable as morally callous economism. Ethics and economics are two equally difficult subjects, and while the former needs discerning and expert reason, the latter cannot do without humane values. In light of all that has happened with the U.S. economic meltdown in the last few months, I continue to subscribe to the following statement from the same article: ... there is no real understanding of "social justice" without an understanding of basic economic principles. These principles explain how Orthodox Christians work, earn, invest, and give to philanthropic causes in a market-oriented economy. Economic questions are at the root of many of the problems that on their face seem to be more about something else -- poverty, immigration, the environment, technology, politics, humanitarian assistance. I remain a convinced … [Read more...]

Russia welcomes Patriarch Kirill

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zbtVDt1NgQ[/youtube] In the Moscow Times, Leonid Sevastyanov and Robert Moynihan write that the new Russian Patriarch Kirill "has deep convictions about the role of the Christian faith in the future of Russia and about Russia's role in the future of Europe and the world." The writers say that the Patriarch is convinced that only a return to "real values" can enable Russia and Europe to confront the current economic crisis. "Moreover," the authors say, Patriarch Kirill "believes that Russia's greatness, eclipsed in recent years, can only be restored by renewing its ancient Orthodox faith." Given his relatively young age, 62, Kirill could be patriarch for the next generation. He will undoubtedly set out to fulfill a double agenda. First, he will want to build on what Alexy II accomplished during the 18 years of his patriarchate, continuing the rebuilding of the church's ruined infrastructure. Thousands of churches have been rebuilt … [Read more...]

Obama’s Theology Problem

John Mark Reynolds observes in the Washington Post that President Obama's liberal Christian theology "represents a last chance for a faith that has been in decline in the West since the 1950s." Reynolds, an Orthodox Christian, blogs at The Scriptorium Daily along with other faculty from the Torrey Honors Institute, a great books program at Biola University for which he is founder and director. Reynolds: President Obama has a chance at greatness, but Tuesday demonstrated that his theology could undermine him. Bush is gone and Obama can no longer simply not be George W. Bush to succeed. He has taken the Oath of Office and now must govern. Of course, Obama could not truly fail on Tuesday. Seeing him take the Oath of Office, the mere image, was a great moment for the nation, but his speech failed to add anything to the greatness. President Obama made history by being elected, but great presidents govern. The picture of the swearing in will make every child's American history … [Read more...]

Culture Wars: Fr. Jacobse on Ancient Faith Radio

Kevin Allen, host of Ancient Faith Radio's Illumined Heart program, interviews AOI President Fr. Hans Jacobse for a fascinating discussion on "The Culture War and Orthodox Christianity." Fr. Hans talks about the need for Eastern Orthodox Christians to engage in the moral and social debates -- call them Culture Wars if you will -- that are being waged in American society today. In this 35 minute program, Allen also asks Fr. Hans about the recent discussion on this blog about whether "Religious Right" leaning ex-Evangelical converts are taking over the Orthodox churches in America. Allen asked Fr. Hans if he thought the Culture Wars might be a lost cause, given what we see in society today. Fr. Hans said the battles over moral issues will be difficult, with uncertain outcomes. But he reminded Allen that our faithfulness will determine the shape of tomorrow. "If it be God's will that the world be saved -- and it is -- I think there's a chance we can turn this around," Fr. Hans … [Read more...]

Maddex to lead Conciliar Media Ministries

John Maddex

Congratulations to John Maddex, the guiding light at Ancient Faith Radio, who was named president and chief executive officer of Conciliar Media Ministries. Maddex assumes responsibility for Conciliar Press, Conciliar's publishing company, while continuing to serve as general manager of Ancient Faith Radio, Conciliar's online radio and podcast ministry. Conciliar is the publishing and online media organization of the Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. Maddex succeeds the Rev. Thomas Zell, who will continue as vice president of Conciliar Press and editor in chief of AGAIN magazine. He also serves as parish priest at St. James Antiochian Orthodox Church, Modesto, Calif. … [Read more...]

Fr. Neuhaus’ review of ‘The Democratic Virtues of the Christian Right’

The Wall Street Journal this week published the late Fr. Richard John Neuhaus' review of "The Democratic Virtues of the Christian Right" by Jon Shields. In the review, Fr. Neuhaus gives Shields, a political scientist at Claremont McKenna College, high marks for "an excruciatingly careful study, studded with the expected graphs and statistical data—but not to the point of spoiling its readability—in the service of probing the curious permutations in contemporary political alignments." The book is scheduled for release on Feb. 19. The pro-life movement is a movement for change, indeed for what some view as the radical change of eliminating the unlimited abortion license. "Meanwhile," writes Shields, "the pro-choice movement is a conservative movement defending the status quo. Pro-choicers have little to gain from engaging their opponents and from the deliberative norms that facilitate persuasion." And, of course, they have the establishment media massively on their side. The head … [Read more...]

Fr. Richard John Neuhaus — May his memory be eternal

Fr. Richard John Neuhaus

Roman Catholic priest Fr. Richard John Neuhas died yesterday after a protracted battle with cancer. Anyone familiar with Christianity in the public square will recognize Fr. Neuhaus as one of the first to sound the alarm that a public square stripped of religious values would lead to a culture stripped of benevolent morality. In his seminal work "The Naked Public Square," Fr. Neuhaus argued that "moral neutrality" was anything but neutral and would lead to a society in which moral universals would be overthrown in favor or utilitarian interests. What did he mean by this? He meant that once religion has been relegated to a private interest (you believe what you want to believe, I will believe what I want to believe, it really doesn't matter), the universals by which men govern themselves would erode, and society would becomes susceptible to, and finally shape itself around, an ethic drawn from the decisions of elites. The pressure on Christians to privatize their faith Neuhaus … [Read more...]

Greece: No Faith in Ourselves

Writing for the Foreign Policy Research Institute on Dec. 19, Cornelia A. Tsakiridou rightly points to the breakdown of the rule of law as one of the most deplorable outcomes of these riots. Tsakiridou is Associate Professor and Director of the Diplomat-in-Residence Program at La Salle University. The spectacle of young people (and assorted criminals, leftwing extremists, and self-proclaimed anarchists) on a smash-and-burn spree wrapping themselves in the mantle of justice, martyrdom, and victimhood is only rivaled by that of a government incapable of making a clear and effective distinction between political grievance and thuggery, lawlessness and the rule of law. Despite attempts in the national and international press (among them Le Monde and The Guardian) to give a deeper dimension to the Greek riots and to offer a mix of elaborate psychological and sociological explanations, the truth may actually be rather plain. The riots happened because the legal … [Read more...]

Patriarch Bartholomew: Turkish Government Wants to Wipe Us Out

Asia News reports that the Turkish Foreign Ministry has issued a new report "which denigrates the 'minority' presence of the Greek Orthodox community in Turkey, and refuses to recognize the 'ecumenical' character of the ancient patriarchate." It seems that the Turkish foreign ministry is trying to make the patriarchate "disappear," continuing to call Bartholomew I "the patriarch of Fanar [editor's note: the neighborhood where the patriarch resides]," refusing to use the title "ecumenical" and acknowledging only that he has spiritual responsibility for the domestic Greek minority, and not for the Orthodox communities connected to Constantinople. It also seems almost a concession from above to accept that Bartholomew I uses the title "ecumenical" abroad. Said the Patriarch: "We are not finished, or hopeless." The news service also cited a source who said that Turkey "was highly disturbed by the emphasis that the Russian media gave to the presence of ecumenical patriarch … [Read more...]

Abp. Ieronymos: Redefine our message

During a visit to Ionian island of Zakynthos yesterday, Archbishop Ieronymos, the head of the Church of Greece, warned yesterday that the Church has to redefine its message for contemporary society. If today we do not, like [island patron saint] Saint Dionysios, give witness to the ecclesiastical truth in a spirit of humility, peace and unity, then we will be tragic and outdated figures of an atavistic past with an eccentric role in our popular and meaningless religious festivals. In Kathimerini's "Face to Face with Ourselves," Nikos Konstandaras includes the Greek clergy in the long list of those culpable for the current anarchy on the streets of Athens. … [Read more...]

‘Work to Eat, Steal to Have’

What a beautiful country and what a heartbreaking spectacle of anarchy and self-hatred. A friend forwarded me this note that he received from a relative in Athens. The matter-of-fact closing line is revealing. Athenians have been coping with this malaise for a long, long time: Every person you ask will have his own take on the riots/events in Greece/Athens, mine is the following: What Greece faces is a situation were you no longer have a society. You have people who happen to be at the same place and everyone is going for his own with no regard to anything. The "System" is considered unfair & ineffective by almost all. This attitude comes across in the quote: "work to eat and steal to have" The situation is the result of the bureaucratic nature of the State, the statist ideology of the Country, and a System/attitude that does not reword work nor allows the most competitive bids to usually win. Concerning specifics: Karamanlis is not considered to be making money … [Read more...]

Alexy II: A ‘Transitional’ Patriarch

Vladimir Berezansky, Jr., a U.S. lawyer with experience in Russia and former Soviet republics, recalls an interview with Patriarch Alexy II in 1991. Like many Russians at the time, the Patriarch was coping with a "disorienting change" following the fall of the Soviet Empire, Berezansky writes. At the time, he seemed overcome by the changes taking place around him, and he did not know where to begin. "For our entire lives, we [clerics] were pariahs, and now we are being called on to do everything: chaplains for the military, ministries to hospitals, orphanages, prisons," he said. He even voiced regret about taking the time to travel to the United States. But he had gambled -- correctly, as it turned out -- that he could do more for his flock by seeking foreign assistance than by staying home to manage the Russian Orthodox Church's destitution. His plate was full and overflowing, and he seemed keenly aware of the ironies of his situation. The Russian state was returning … [Read more...]