Thursday, October 12, 2006

Stunned. From orthodoxy to Orthodoxy

Well, I was thinking much on the universal indult, but that seemed rather unimportant with some news that came across my inbox which has me rather stunned and depressed. I had heard rumors Rod was considering it, but I am suprised that he actually did it.

I probably should not be posting so soon after hearing about and reading his posting, but it is rather breaking news.

Rod Dreher has converted to Eastern Orthodoxy.

I am familiar with Rod's work, especially his editorial battles with the diocese of Dallas. I have met him briefly and acutally admired his dedication to the Catholic faith in light of the fact that, due to his career in journalism, he is exposed to so many of the problems of the Church. I guess that environment eventually got to him.

I certainly sympathize with him, having seen so many scandals at so many levels of the Church. I even long for many of the ideals he is seeking. However, and maybe it is just an inability to clarify his points about something so deep on something so simple like a blog, something seems to be very faulty in his reasoning.

Rod is a good man, and I respect his opinion, even if I don't agree with him.
I can't expect you Catholics to endorse my move, but I hope at least you will pray for me and my family, and with me for the ultimate unity of Orthodoxy and Catholicism...
I will certainly pray for him and his family, as well as his intentions, and I ask readers to do so as well. I do thank God that Rod's belief in the Truth in the Real Presence is unwavering. That will certainly help him and his family.

Also, as a friend said:
the man needs prayers, and those responsible for the scandal that have caused him and so many others to stumble will have accounting to do before a merciful but just God.
I would post my feelings more, but it wouldn't be fair to take pot shots at him since my only understanding of this is from his post and I have never spoken to him personally about this. All I can say is: I don't agree with his move, and I am disappointed, but I will pray for him and his family, and may Christ show all of us His mercy.

Sancti Basili et Benedicte, orate pro nobis.


Ronny said...

As I mentioned in my email to you, I think that this passage penned by Rod himself lies at the heart of his decision if we only have his past writing about the Church to use as a guide:

The Amish example of forgiveness and detachment from anger recently made a powerful impression on me, because I can see so clearly how I allowed myself to become snared in it. The pursuit of justice is a wonderful and necessary thing, even a holy act. But I became so tormented over what had happened to those children at the hands of the Catholic clergy and hierarchy that I could see nothing else but pursuing justice. And my own pursuit of justice allowed me to turn wrath into an idol. I didn't know I was doing this at the time. I came to believe that if I didn't stop, or if I let up, that I would in some sense be failing the victims, that I would be helping the perpetrators get away with it. Again and again, I kept thinking What if this had happened to our family? And over time, the anger, and my inability to master it and put it in its place, corroded the bonds that linked me to Catholicism. That is something that could happen to anybody, Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox or what have you. Be warned.

I commend Rod for recognizing this as a problem. It is not one unique to him, as I have seen this attitude of being "angrier than thou" (which can be more fundamental than the oft accused "holier than thou") is one that I have seen in many people reacting to the Scandal, liturgical abuses, or other problems in the Church. Such a person is pissed off, damnit, and the rest of us Catholics aren't pissed off enough. As a result, the person reasons, the rest of us won't change, and because the rest of us won't change, the Church won't change. As a result of this attiutude, I have seen others suggesting that they were considering or had already decided to abandon the Church because they just can't abide this sorry lot of insufficiently angry people any more. This is not righteous anger; it is spiritual poison. It is understandable why some feel this way, but poison it remains.

Anonymous said...

I take offense to Rod's comment where he says, "YOU CATHOLICS". It is like he is looking down his nose at "us Catholics".

If they were of the truth they never would have left, but since they never really were of the truth, the couldn't remain. (St. John of the Cross)

My little brother was molested by a priest at the tender age of 8 and for several more years. He hates what happened to him but he didn't leave the Church and neither did my parents or I. It has been a test of faith for us and we passed the test. We don't run from the truth just because some in the Church have no truth in themselves. That is their problem. Why make it our problem? We have enough problems and certainly have enough to answer for at the Judgement Seat. Why add leaving the One, True,Church to the pile.

Rod needs to understand that it isn't the "Church" that is corrupt but some of the members that are. I agree that there is a lot of garbage going on that makes me want to just throw my hands up and quit but I know I can't do that because that would be a coward's way out; it is the way out for those who don't know how to fight the good fight so they just move on to something more "comfortable". Jesus certainly wasn't comfortable on the road to His crucifixion and He could have halted it any time but He didn't.

Roman Sacristan said...

Good point.

One further point I was thinking on, is that I hope in his examination of Eastern Orthodoxy, he really understands all the differences. It is not just the "pope thing" that separates us from the them. There are dogmatic issues at stake too.

I personally get the feeling from his post that, aside from the liturgical rite, and the "pope thing," and that the Eastern Orthodox appear to live their faith better, the two churches have the same teachings.

I know that might be a simplistic reading of his post, but is he aware of all the other doctrinal differences?

Ronny said...

Mark Shea is dubious about Rod claiming misgivings about papal primacy. We don't know what is going through Rod's head, but I agree that there is good reason to be suspicious about the guy's motivations for making this claim.

Given what he has said about JPII, I imagine that it boils down to the anger issue again -- angry that an imperfect man perhaps did not do all that some think he should have done and as fast as he could have done it. It is a debatable but legitimate position to hold about the late pontiff, but to dwell on the anger at the man itself will ultimately cause one to disbelieve or not want to believe in papal primacy anymore.

Anonymous said...

I invite Rod to bring his arguments to the table with this fella. (Dave Armstrong, convert)
;0) He won't have a snowball's chance in the Sahara Desert.

Roman Sacristan said...

The first anonymous post above is probably one of the best rebuttals to Rod's decision.
God bless your faith, anonymous.

Anonymous said...

wrath as an idol...pause to think...

David L Alexander said...

Yeah, I heard about this -- from a guy who was following him around on Sunday to see which church he attended. And you kids thought Rod had some issues. Eeeeeew!

As one who has considered "crossing the Bosporus" more than once, I can identify to some extent with Dreher's struggle. This shouldn't be confused with agreeing with him. Sooner or later the romance dies, as no one, even in the Orthodox Church, is spared the frailties of the human condition (including clerical sexual abuse, as he will learn in due course). That's when it comes down to the simple question: What do you believe?

Even the East suffered its iconoclasm, just as the West is now. The greatest of Saints -- both east and west -- were tested by such errors in their midst. We all get tested sooner or later, which makes me wonder why everybody thinks Rod should be any different.

David L Alexander said...

man with black hat: Sparing the Rod

"We are led to believe that this sojourn of faith has been insprired in large part by what he calls 'complete burnout over the Catholic sex-abuse scandal.' (Join the club, Rod. Did you think this was the first time this ever happened?) None of the idiots responsible for the current mess are the reason yours truly is still a Catholic. Nor are they sufficient reason to be anything else..."

Roman Sacristan said...

Good post, David, and there are some interesting comments on the post too.

Karen said...

I am a Byzantine rite Catholic who is also considering Eastern Orthodoxy. My reasons are a little different from Rod's, however... I have just come to believe that Catholicism has gone off the tracks, and that Orthodoxy has it right.

Btw, I appreciate your attitude towards Rod. I found your site via the link in Gerald Augustinus' blog re this, and was frankly disgusted by his entry and the comments in it.

Anonymous said...

Karen, Catholicism can never go off track; only the members can go off track. People seem to keep forgetting that the Church Christ instituted is perfect. If it weren't perfect then what are we to think of Christ? Please be careful how you state your opinion.

Karen said...

The Church Christ instituted is perfect, but its members are not-- and that goes for either Catholic or Orthodox.

I think the Orthodox Church has better preserved the spirit of Apostolic Christianity. Perhaps I should have said "the Western Church has gone off track."

Roman Sacristan said...

Karen, if you are using Rod's "there's so many problems in the Catholic Church" argument, you are going to be very disapponted anywhere you go. There are scandals in the Orthodox Church too.
You have to look at what each religion teaches. There are many more differences than the "pope thing."
There are so many splinters in Orthodoxy: old calendar vs. new calendar, it's OK to contracept vs. it isn't OK to contracept, do you agree with the Orthodox teaching on redemption, or the Catholic Church's teaching? There are many other dogmatic issues at stake too.
Orthodoxy might seem tempting, but I'll stick with Christ and his vicar, Peter.
Mark Shea has a good response to Rod:

Gerald has "tough love." I guarentee you he is just telling it like it is.

Karen said...

Hi RS,

Of course you're right about there being problems anywhere you go, and that if you're leaving only because you're not happy, then you're never going to be happy.

I don't presume to judge Rod or his decision-- that's between him and God-- but personally, I don't blame him. I find Orthodox spirituality so much more humble and simple than Roman, which is, imo, legalistic and overdeveloped. I also have a problem with the Filioque, the Immaculate Conception, and the papal monarchy. Not trying to start an argument or anything, but I can say that I personally am considering doxing because of issues of truth, and not simply to run away from bad liturgy, scandals, etc.

God bless.

Karen said...

By the way, I consider a response of "don't let the door hit you" to be self-righteous and devoid of love-- tough or otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Karen said:

I also have a problem with the Filioque, the Immaculate Conception, and the papal monarchy.

Then leaving the Church Christ instituted won't be a big problem for you because you are Catholic in name only.

Karen said...

I wouldn't be "leaving" the church Christ instituted, ANONYMOUS.

I humbly suggest that you concern yourself more with your own "catholicity" and less with mine.

Ronny said...

I don't want to pick a fight with Karen and doubt that I can change her heart and mind through a blog comment, but I do feel compelled to respond to the "legalistic and overdeveloped" remark simply because it is a pet peeve of mine. This accusation against Roman Catholicism, usually by those who are practitioners of Orthodoxy, is a very common -- and very tired -- canard. It is often stated, seldom defended, and simply wrong. The sheer diversity of spirituality expressed by the numerous saints that are the patrimony of the West is remarkable, so much so that it can point to its Eastern brethren and and see therein part of its heritage even while some of the latter cast aspersions upon the former as though the likes of Augustine, Benedict, Dominic, Francis, Ignatius, John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, Therese of Lisieux and many others prescribed and themselves followed a uniform, rigid, deadening spirituality for the rest of the faithful. It is false, and it is unjust to the examples these holy men and women gave of the many different ways of living for Christ.

Anonymous said...

I once heard someone say, "Thou art Peter and upon this rock I shall build My Church. And the gates of hell shall not prevail against it"