July 24, 2014

Eastern Right: Conservative Minds Convert to Orthodox Christianity

Illustration by Michael Hogue

Source: The American Conservative | By Rod Dreher - Since the Second World War, Roman Catholicism has had enormous influence on American intellectual conservatism. The postwar rebirth of conservatism had two sources: libertarianism—a reassertion of classical liberalism against statism—and cultural traditionalism. For Russell Kirk and other leading traditionalists of the era, the Roman Catholic church, with its soaring intellectual edifice and unitary vision of faith and reason, matter and spirit, was the natural conservator of Western civilization and the sure source of its renewal after the catastrophes of the 20th century. The Catholic contribution to conservative intellectual life has been hard to overstate. It is impossible not to notice the steady stream of right-of-center intellectuals into the Roman church: Kirk himself, his libertarian sparring partner Frank Meyer, early National Review luminaries such as L. Brent Bozell Jr. and Willmoore Kendall, and many more. One does … [Read more...]

Rod Dreher: It’s Time Bishops Man Up

Rod Dreher

Earlier this year, there was a battle-royal raging among the elites of my church, the Orthodox Church in America, over the leadership style of Metropolitan Jonah, the primate. A number of the bishops on the Synod were plotting against him, along with some key and vocal activists associated with the OCA old guard. I involved myself in the defense of Jonah, blogging under a pseudonym to prevent the chance that that controversy could bring negative publicity to my then-employer. I and the other bloggers were outed after a bishop accessed (probably illegally) the e-mail account of a friend and former pastor, and spent two months reading all the man's private e-mails, including correspondence from me. The fallout from all that made me decide that I need to stay the hell away from anything to do with bishops, because there is nothing but trouble there for me. I never should have gotten involved, because it was all, in the end, pointless. I say that not to "re-litigate" that whole … [Read more...]

Rod Dreher: What’s So Appealing About Orthodoxy?

orthodox-dome

Source: Washington Post I came to Orthodoxy in 2006, a broken man. I had been a devoutly observant and convinced Roman Catholic for years, but had my faith shattered in large part by what I had learned as a reporter covering the sex abuse scandal. It had been my assumption that my theological convictions would protect the core of my faith through any trial, but the knowledge I struggled with wore down my ability to believe in the ecclesial truth claims of the Roman church (I wrote in detail about that drama here). For my wife and me, Protestantism was not an option, given what we knew about church history, and given our convictions about sacramental theology. That left Orthodoxy as the only safe harbor from the tempest that threatened to capsize our Christianity. In truth, I had longed for Orthodoxy for some time, for the same reasons I, as a young man, found my way into the Catholic Church. It seemed to me a rock of stability in a turbulent sea of relativism and modernism … [Read more...]

Rod Dreher: How to govern a Church: a case study

Rod Dreher

I want to contrast the way the institutional Catholic Church is struggling to deal with its problem bishops, versus the way the Orthodox Church in America (my church) has done it recently. It shouldn’t be necessary to say this, but I probably need to: this is not an argument for why Orthodoxy is more true than Catholicism. It is only a comment about administration. A church is both a human and a divine institution. Because of its human element, there will always be sin among its people, including its leadership. As the famous saying goes, if you find a perfect church, join it, but know that the minute you yourself walk in the door, it will cease to be perfect any longer. It is hopelessly unrealistic to expect that the clergy of any church will always be free from sin. What matters is how those in authority deal with that sin once they become aware of it. The Catholic scandal is not really over priests molesting children, but over bishops who became aware of it refusing to deal … [Read more...]