Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Rant about the Constant Orthodox/SSPX Comparisons I Get

Originally posted to Facebook, 10 January 2009

I got another one yesterday. And I've just about had it.

So most of you Roman Catholics seem to either find:
a) the SSPX preferable to Eastern Orthodoxy when converting from a non-Roman Catholic faith
b) the Eastern Orthodox no better than the SSPX (both schismatic, cut from the True Vine, etc)

Well, I did a rudimentary comparison between the two, and here's what initial findings show:

Orthodox Communion
Founded: Pentecost, 33 AD
Rite: Byzantine, "Western"
Liturgical Music: Byzantine, Kievan, Znamenny, Valaam, Georgian, Carpatho-Russian, Galician, Gregorian (Western Rite Orthodox)
No. of Adherents: 225 million
Majority Religion: Belarus (80%), Bulgaria (82.6%), Cyprus (81%), Georgia (83.9%), Greece (98%), Macedonia (66%), Moldova (93.3%), Montenegro (74.24%), Romania (86.7%), Russia (80%), Serbia (84.1%), Ukraine (83%)
Significant Religious Minority: Bosnia & Herzegovina (36%), Croatia (4.4%), Estonia (13.9%), Finland* (1.1%), Kazakhstan (7.8%), Kyrgyzstan (10%), Latvia (6.6%), Lithuania (4.9%), Turkmenistan (9%), Uzbekistan (9%)
Notable Saints: Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp of Smyrna, Basil the Great, John Climacus, Clement of Alexandria, Nicholas of Myra, Athanasius of Alexandria, John Cassian, Anthony the Great, Maximus the Greek, Cyril of Alexandria, Dorotheus of Gaza, Gregory of Nyssa, Maximus the Confessor, John Chrysostom, Sava of Serbia, Gregory Nazianzus, Barlaam of the Kiev Caves, John of Damascus, Dionysius the Areopagite, Seraphim of Sarov, Basil the Confesor, Dimitri of Rostov, Sergius of Radonezh, Olympia the Deaconess, etc
Notable Religious Contributions: First seven Ecumenical Councils, iconography, hesychasm, foolishness for Christ, etc
Notable Literary Works: Philokalia, The Way of a Pilgrim, The Ladder of Divine Ascent, The Spiritual Life
Notable Cultural Contributions: Cyrillic alphabet (used by 11 languages), architecture (Byzantine, Muscovite Baroque, Neo-Byzantine, Russian Revival, etc), Byzantine art, Classical Antique heritage
Notable Culinary Contributions: Paskha, kulich, kutia, kolliva, etc
Notable Churches: Hagia Sophia (Constantinople), St Basil's Cathedral (Moscow), Alexander Nevsky Cathedral (Sofia), etc

* Has national church status

Society of St Pius X
Founded: 1970
Rite: Roman
Liturgical Music: Gregorian
No. of Adherents: 150,000 (approx.)
Majority Religion: None
Significant Religious Minority: None; Ecône probably
Notable Saints: None
Notable Religious Contributions: Highlighting the dangers of Modernism & the Novus Ordo mass, insight into what *exactly* constitues a valid mass/whether excommunication was incurred latae sententiae during consecration of bishops (only in 1988), directly/indirectly influencing the issue of Ecclesia Dei/Summorum Pontificum
Notable Literary Works: 100 Years of Modernism, Against the Heresies, Apologia pro Marcel Lefebvre
Notable Cultural Contributions: First to put lace on Byzantine vestment (no wait, that was the Greek-Catholics)
Notable Culinary Contributions: Ask Kenny
Notable Churches: St Nicolas du Chardonnet (Paris)

By their fruits, you shall know them, so the good book tells us. I think the results are clear. There is NO comparison. Any comparison done to liken the Orthodox to the SSPX in relation to the Roman Catholic Church is clearly derogatory/offensive and WILL incite anger - so if you absolutely must say it, stay clear of cossacks.

If you are a Roman Catholic who believes points a) and/or b) mentioned earlier, congratulations - you are no better than a racist. You think the Roman rite (it doesn't matter whether it's the Novus Ordo or Tridentine mass) is the ONLY worthy, divinely approved liturgy. The Byzantine liturgies are good too, but only for strange people with beards from the forests of East Europe. Worth a visit, but it's really not for decent, English-speaking, educated folk. Oh, and really, who gives a @#$% about the theological and liturgical contribution of the Orthodox East - heck, who cares about doctrine these days - because we know that once you sever that all-important, life-or-death link with the bishop of Rome, you ain't worth nothing.

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Blogger Josephus Flavius said...

"Notable Cultural Contributions: First to put lace on Byzantine vestment (no wait, that was the Greek-Catholics)"

Nice... I find it worthwhile to cherry-pick errors and throw them out on occasion to strengthen my arguments, too.

Personal experience has told me that most outrageous moments come when SSPX people attend a Greek-Catholic liturgy. It seems to destabilize their order of things in a way that causes them... as a couple did just last Sunday... to yell "Heretic!" and run out of the church.

Thu Jan 22, 01:24:00 am 2009  
OpenID said...

you should travel around russian backwater more. then u'll begin missing sspx ; ))

Wed Jan 28, 05:21:00 pm 2009  
Anonymous old believer said...

I came across your blog by chance.

Superb post. The SSPX are liturgical and ecclesiological rubbish. What is so sad is that they are even taken at all seriously by Rome - that fact is a very sad reflection indeed and shows what a mess Rome is in.

Tue Feb 03, 11:29:00 pm 2009  
Blogger Josephus Flavius said...

That's right. Bringing people that have fallen away from their patriarch is a silly idea. Let's ignore the Old Believers, [insert ethnic identifier] True Orthodox Church groups, break-away autonomous groups like the UAOC, and all the rest. How is that a solution for the faithful?

“What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish."

Tue Feb 03, 11:42:00 pm 2009  
Blogger Mrs. Darcy said...

I have not found that Roman Catholics prefer the SSPX to Orthodox, I have found that for most the Orthodox simply don't enter into the equation, except as a big unknown.

SSPX is known as being a radically, conservative group of Latin Mass people. There is quite a bit of ignorance about who they really are. But you are sort of assuming that there is a an equal level of knowledge or ignorance (as the case may be) re: the Eastern Churches. Y'all PR has been pretty poor, because I'm not certain they ever enter into the conversation except for the random igmo stating, "them? don't they have valid communion, but they get divorced? I don't know much about them, they aren't Catholic."
Realistically, the first major exposure that most Catholics have had to the East was _My Big, Fat Greek Wedding_ and then the only Church scenes took place in a Ukranian Greek Catholic Church. Seriously, getting annoyed about this stuff is totally ridiculous. Seriously, Josephus's comment is correct that the Pope has an obligation to go find the one sheep, but it isn't a commentary on Catholic opinions of the Orthodox.

Wed Feb 04, 12:05:00 am 2009  
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Sat Feb 28, 10:12:00 am 2009  

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