Sunday, January 16, 2005

The ecumenical warm fuzzies

[Sure enough, I kicked up a tiny yellow poop storm with my comments about the papacy recently over at Dr. Blosser's Catholic Tradition blog. Daniel Jones replied to me in no uncertain terms that I'm being presumptuous about his motioves. Worse, I haven't even made an argument. Some of Daniel's more prolific blog compadres added their two cents, to which I replied as follows...]

Garsh, it's a regular roast in here. Nice to see all the pats on the back, guys, I'm sure you appreciate them. With my ears still burning, let me say I'm honored. To see an Orthodox, an Orthodox Catholic and a catholic Calvinist so readily circle a Catholic Presbyterian -- I'm swooning with the ecumenical warm fuzzies! Yuck yuck yuck. ;p


Thanks for your paternalism. Pots, black kettles and whatnot. How’s your patristic rhetoric rhetoric (series) coming along?


I apologize if I came across as harsh. It's just that I found it very unsavory that I've seen you apparently speaking for some time out of both sides of your mouth about your allegiances. (The painful irony is that I, as a would-be-Catholic Protestant, have had my motives impugned enough times [yep, by Tim Enloe more than anyone else] that I should have curbed my cynicism.) On the one hand, I've heard you defend yourself as "only canonically Roman Catholic" when your competence or genuineness about EO was challenged. On the other hand, as with Diane, I've heard you play your Catholic card for all its worth when your objectivity was challenged. So, my first "argument" was/is about your MO. It's very nice to hear about your prudence, truly; but it's just as difficult to detect much other than anti-Latin orientalism in some of your comments. I (from my own experience) understand how liberating it can be in the midst of a total theological "identity crisis" to create arguing space on both sides of the line so you can explore all the angles with immunity. So, please forgive me of any undue harshness. But [if it even matters to you] also try to understand that to me, at least, you sometimes come across a little less than genuine.

Perry (and Daniel):

As for my "argument" about ADS, I'm happy to admit LOUD AND CLEAR ONCE AGAIN I am not competent to critique your philosophical or theological arguments. The thrust of my reservation, however, is that neither do I think you're competent to push the arguments as you do.

First, as the Pontificator has pointed out, ADS just doesn't have the full heretical effects in RCism you think it should. (Wasn’t it you, Perry, that actually insinuated RCs worship a different God?) ADS or not, the RC Church still affirms creatio ex nihilo and all the binding dogmas you insist its ADS negates. I'll give a half-dozen ecclesial eggs for six doctrinal ones: if not submitting to the papacy still enables the EO Church(es) to remain, well, orthodox after all this time, then ADS clearly enables the RC Church to do the same.

Second, please point me to one universally binding council that anathematizes ADS (not to mention Vatican I ecclesiology). Show me the EO council that trumps the dogmatic decrees of the Catholics AND ORTHODOX at Florence (all cries about forced complicity and conciliar imperialism aside for the minute, please). It’s no secret EO has been warming up for some time for “the next great council,” so, until that council does so, by what authority do you renounce ADS as a heresy and defend Maximian (and Palamite) theology as anything other than a hugely successful theologumenon? You guys are incredibly smart, and I respect you both a great deal more than any of my inveterate cheekiness might suggest, but the painful truth is neither of you are bishops and neither of you have the conciliar authority to bind me, Catholics, or even yourselves to the views you are defending. I’m sure this offends you (and your graduate acumen) as a mind-numbingly arrogant and low-brow case of petitio principii, but, hey, leave it us to salt of the earth Catholic types to kowtow to the bishops in a council.

And now, a final request: I’ve heard both of you say the Fathers I shamelessly ripped out of context and manipulated for my own dark papal schemes quoted do not support Catholic ecclesiology (nor even imply it!?), and that they are all of them perfectly compatible with EO ecclesiology. I’ve followed up on the works you guys have suggested, and am “in country” now trying to make my way through it all. But in the meantime, I’d like you – in all humble, unsneering honesty – to explain in as few words as necessary how or why any EO layman, priest or bishop would ever say what the Fathers said in my post. How, in as few words as necessary, do you reconcile all the Eastern papalism of the pre-schism Church with EO ecclesiology? Further, why does the East still have to make space for the apostate Roman see, when any other apostate see would go the way of, well, apostate sees – into the margins? On the one hand, why can’t (or doesn’t) the East just ignore the Pope and, on the other hand, how could it ever embrace him?

Notice I am NOT implying you CAN’T answer of these questions; I am simply admitting in a roundabout way (and now in a direct way) that I’m just too dumb to see how it can be done. I genuinely want to hear your explanation. (And please don’t pay too much mind to the Calvinist up above; since he’s withdrawn from the apologetics biz, I’m his hobby hunting great white whale.)

Many thanks and God bless you,

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