July 24, 2014

Catholics and Orthodox report promising progress in latest round of unity talks

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I was going to post the release below a few days ago but decided against because, well, it had that ring of Constantinopolitan triumphalism to it. I'm jaded by Constantinople's global warming initiative where the full moral force of the Constantinopolitan Patriarchate (as well as the complete administrative resources of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese) was pressed into service on behalf of the global environmentalist lobby. Even a rudimentary search at the time when global warming was heralded as "settled science" would have given the independent observer pause; too many questions about the veracity of global warming "science" were raised by qualified scientists, unqualified political celebrities (Al Gore and others) were elevated to champion what ostensibly was a project of the scientific academy, too many adherents viewed environmentalism in quasi-religious terms (employing a twisting of the traditional moral vocabulary to justify their beliefs), and so forth. That the Ecumenical … [Read more...]

Response to the Patriarchal Address

While the Patriarchal address has much to commend it, the leveling of ideas it exhibits is troubling. The essay below was originally written as a comment, but I posting it here for comment and analysis. Frankly, the ideas in this speech are muddled. It sounds like it an American wrote it who has only a cursory understanding of the history of ideas. For instance, while the examples citing Ghandi and King are true, it is overlooked that the reason for Ghandi's success was that the English, despite their empire building in India, still responded to Ghandi's appeals that were shaped by and heard through the Christian moral tradition. The same holds true for King. He was successful because by drawing on the morality of the Christian tradition, particularly the inherent value of the individual, he awakened the conscience of nation shaped by that tradition. Ghandi's and King's success however does not translate into a universal appeal for non-violence, simply because non-violence … [Read more...]

Orthodox Christian Laity Says Patriarch Bartholomew’s Remarks to SCOBA Boost Orthodox Unity Effort in America

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ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN LAITY Press Release November 3, 2009 For more information contact: George Matsoukas 877-585-0245 Orthodox Christian Laity (OCL) described Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew’s remarks to the recently-held SCOBA (Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas) meeting held in New York City on October 27, 2009 “as another important step on the road to Orthodox Unity in the United States.” “By reaffirming his support for the unity process which commenced a year ago in Istanbul and subsequently refined this past June in Chambesy, Switzerland, His All Holiness delivered a clear message to America’s Orthodox leadership that he backs the unity effort,” said Bill Souvall, newly-elected President of OCL. Mr. Souvall added that the Patriarch “demonstrated an acute understanding of our situation in the United States,” citing excerpts from his remarks which referred to the evolving status quo of the Church in America. “Patriarch Bartholomew’s … [Read more...]

The Patriarch, the Environment and the Enlightenment

His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew recently published an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal (“Our Indivisible Environment,” 26 October 2009) in which he argues that “just as God is indivisible, so too is our global environment.”  He asserts that as the “molecules of water that comprise the great North Atlantic are neither European nor American” so too the “particles of atmosphere above the United Kingdom are neither Labour nor Tory.” On the surface, his words reflect a cultural and intellectual tradition with deep roots in classical, pre-Christian Greek thought (especially Aristotle) as well as Holy Scripture and the teachings of the fathers of the Church (East and West). His observations also owe much to Scholasticism, those Medieval Catholic scholars wrestled who the relationship between Greek philosophy and Christian faith, as well as the relationship of Christian faith to Judaism and Islam.  To his credit, the Patriarch is also in a discussion with … [Read more...]