Saturday, 25 June 2011

A few just maledictions...

I had a very amusing Monday evening indeed; involving lots of ale, Roman Traditionalists and a very heated argument about Pius XII, focusing on Signum Magnum. Since I have virtually no influence anywhere, and am of very little importance to any parish church, I am supremely confident that my little rant here will have no personal ramifications; but Truth sets us at liberty, as the Word of God instructs those of us who have ears to listen (which Traddies clearly don't). Maybe it was the genius (or common sense) of my argument, but I had the entire table convinced in favour of Tradition (which begs another question, but I shall treat that elsewhere), except one individual, who clung with a somewhat delusional conviction to the Papal propers. And so it behoves me to bend the whole purpose of this blog and my personal orthodoxy with the overwhelming force of my contempt of the papacy upon trying to save this individual from heresy. Nobody has the right to confess falsehood, least of all any Ultramontane mackerel snapper, for of a surety they go to Hell on account of their contempt of Tradition. After all, this blog is about saving Traddies from their heresy and mocking those who do not wish to be saved.

My argument is simply this: Use of the modern, inferior propers for the feast of St Mary's Assumption is about as Ultramontane (and therefore heretical) as you can get. They are so bad they make me angry - so angry in fact that last year, when the feast of the Assumption fell on a Sunday, I boycotted church altogether, since all of the so-called ''traditional'' churches in London (except the ''Old Roman Catholic'' church) decided to trample upon Tradition in favour of Signum Magnum. There are no words to express how wrathful I was on that day, righteously angry on behalf of the Lord. The new propers dishonour the feast of the Assumption, and serve only to rubber stamp the Blessed Virgin Mary with the ugly seal of the Papacy. You might as well call Christ a fraud to His face by making such deference to the pope. Using the new propers is to cast odium upon Tradition and is, I daresay, a grotesque and utterly base act of Scarlet Whore worship. I will NEVER go to a Roman church on the feast of the Assumption again.

Aforetime, that is ere the reign of that tyrannical Man of Sin Pius XII (now in Hell), the Roman church taught, much like the Orthodox Church, the doctrine of St Mary's Assumption, backed by the auctoritas of centuries of Tradition, the witness of the holy fathers and fundamentally the Sacred Liturgy with its ancient proper prayers and office. But in 1947 Pius XII, having reversed the Lex Orandi in the oft-praised (though much misunderstood) encyclical letter Mediator Dei (a veritable compendium of liturgical heterodoxy), set a precedent whereby the popes could make arbitrary mutilations to the Tradition of the Church at their whim (not that this had not already been done by previous popes, though that matter would take long as years of torment to relate). He intelligently accomplished a near complete inversion of the traditional understanding of law, custom, tradition, and doctrine - where the older a particular institution or tradition could be proved to be, the greater auctoritas and relevance it has for the life of the Church today and for all time. The bull Munificentissimus Deus, by which Pius XII dogmatized the doctrine of the Assumption, draws upon Mediator Dei in the demonstrably heretical, erroneous and pernicious falsehood where he asserts that the doctrine of the Church informs the Liturgy (and NOT vice versa). And so one reads such things as:

''However, since the liturgy of the Church does not engender the Catholic faith, but rather springs from it, in such a way that the practices of the sacred worship proceed from the faith as the fruit comes from the tree, it follows that the holy Fathers and the great Doctors, in the homilies and sermons they gave the people on this feast day, did not draw their teaching from the feast itself as from a primary source, but rather they spoke of this doctrine as something already known and accepted by Christ's faithful.''

I'm sorry but this is a damnable falsehood which comes from the Foe of God and Men, and they are wise and godly who reject it. When I wrote my final essay for Church History at Heythrop, on the development of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception - for which I was given a First - my strongest argument for the ancientry of the doctrine was the liturgical witness at Rome and elsewhere (this in itself arguably puts Pacelli out of reckoning). Either Pius XII was ignorant of the Fathers, or he sought rather to shatter the tradition of the holy fathers and to rebuild it after a fashion consonant with the blasphemous claims of the Papacy. The latter is the more likely. One might say that where the conclusion of Munificentissimus Deus is ''correct,'' the premises are false; and where does doctrinal and liturgical orthodoxy end up, as a result? Since I utterly repudiate the bull, I believe doctrine of St Mary's Assumption in a way which is more traditional and meaningful than the Romans, who seem to confess the doctrine because the pope said it was so in 1950 - essentially it's Roma locuta est (she never shuts up), Ego sum Papa, Vicarius Christi, locutus sum, etc, etc over and over again. If the pope declares the law of gravity to be nonsense, then it is nonsense. If the pope says that Tradition is subject to him, then it is subject to him. Raw power. Absolute power and control. That is all Rome is interested in. Render obeisance to the pope in this matter and you commit moral, conscientious and intellectual suicide, and you replace the Tradition of the Church for a lie.

Now the new Propers themselves. To be blunt, they're crap. Even from an aesthetic perspective, the plainsong notation for Gaudeamus in the Gradual is far more beautiful than that of Signum Magnum. I have never heard them sung before, though with my rudimentary knowledge of plainsong (having been thrown in at the deep end with a Liber Usualis once upon a time), I have pieced the music together and it has taken shape in my mind as something melodious and traditional. I heard Signum Magnum sung for five years in a row, to my sorrow. The new Introit is taken from the Apocalypse of St John and is entirely irrelevant to the feast. What does a woman clothed with the sun have to do with Our Lady's death? Gaudeamus, while not taken from the Scriptures, is at least common to other Marian festivals, and is quite beautiful:

Gaudeamus omnes in Domino diem festum celebrantes sub honore beatae Mariae Virginis de cuius Assumptione gaudent Angeli, et collaudant Filium Dei. Eructavit cor meum verbum bonum; dico ego opera mea Regi. Gloria Patri. (Let us all rejoice in the Lord, celebrating a feast day in honour of the blessed Virgin Mary, of whose Assumption the angels rejoice and together give praise to the Son of God. My heart hath noised a good word; I speak my works to the King. Glory to the Father).

The new Collect is worse than the Introit (which has the advantage of at least being a quote from the Scriptures, to which, at least in principle, only a fool would scoff), and reads (even in Latin, which is rather shoddy) like the bulletin I read every Monday morning at work; so you can perhaps indulge me if I am not that enthusiastic about uniting myself spiritually to the celebrant as he chants a prayer composed by an Italian with a day job 60 years ago. It can only be described as a committee-produced, doctrinal domination of the prayer of the Church (a residue of the inversion of the Lex Orandi), and expressive of Ultramontane dogma. Let us compare the two:

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui Immaculatam Virginem Mariam, Filii tui Genetricem, corpore et anima ad caelestem gloriam assumpsisti; concede quaesumus ut ad superna semper intenti, ipsius gloriae mereamur esse consortes. Per Dominum. (Almighty everlasting God, who hast taken body and soul into heaven the Immaculate Virgin Mary, Bearer of thy Son, grant, we beseech thee, that by steadfastly keeping heaven as our goal we may be counted worthy to join her in glory. Through the Lord).

Well done loyal pen pusher in Rome (euge serve bone et fidelis apud Romam!?!)! It doesn't read like the Collects of old does it? Of old there were two traditional Collects for the Assumption, Famulorum tuorum and Veneranda nobis (a Collect which appears in the Missal of Robert of Jumieges, alongside Famulorum tuorum and a Preface, Et te in veneratione, proper to the feast). Famulorum tuorum is exquisite:

Famulorum tuorum, quaesumus, Domine delictis ignosce, ut qui tibi placere de actibus nostris non valeamus; Genetricis Filii tui Domini nostri intercessione salvemur. Qui tecum vivit. (Indulge, we beseech O Lord, the delicts of thy servants, that we who may not please thee by our actions may be saved by the intercession of the Bearer of thy Son, our Lord. Who lives with thee etc).

Ancient, simple, superb Latin - a simple supplication unto the mercy of God, calling to mind the divine motherhood (it behoves us to remember that all the merits of the Blessed Virgin are derived from this, and not her own personal sinlessness). Does not the new Collect seem a trifle artificial? One of the arguments in favour of Signum Magnum I heard the other day was that the new propers ''better reflected'' the mind of Pius XII who, having exercised his ''extraordinary magisterium,'' sought to establish the Roman faithful in the truth of this doctrine. I suppose they did reflect his mind; but we must remember that that was a reprobate mind bent on the destruction of Tradition; so are we to use these propers simply because this man was bishop of Rome? This new collect is expressive of the inversion of the Lex Orandi (and therefore of novelty), not of wholesome doctrine or Tradition. Use the old Collect and you are in communion with the saints; use the new collect and you renounce that communion in favour of the Ultramontane heresy. The same can be said of the Gradual (arguably the most reprobate deform, since the traditional Gradual most certainly goes back to about the 7th century), Secret and Postcommunion prayers; all of which underwent revision under the acid pens of Pacelli's team of bureaucrat reformers. And this is what is provided in churches which celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass, the Mass of Ages, the Usus Antiquior, the Extraordinary Form etc! Please note that I use such terms only with the uttermost disdain.

The Lessons for the feast have been changed of course, once again without any apparent reason. The new Epistle is taken from the Book of Judith. Forgive my ignorance, most holy father, but is Judith now to be considered a ''type'' of St Mary? Confessedly the content of the new Epistle is applicable to St Mary (from a kind of litanical or devotional perspective), but the change seems arbitrary nonetheless and without warrant. The older Epistle was taken from the Book of Wisdom and spoke vividly of repose in the Lord, which in itself is a vestige of the older idea (now lost in the West) that St Mary went to sleep. The new Epistle seems to distort the doctrine, or lay too much emphasis upon an aspect of mariology. This change is indicative of a general tendency in the Roman church of popes making ''slight'' changes to the Missal which themselves get rid of an older idea (expressive of a facet of doctrine which would otherwise go unexpressed) - compare, for example, the change to the Great Elevation in the 1570 Missal by Clement VIII in 1604. He moved the Haec Quotiescumque from during the Elevation to afterwards; the older rubric being expressive of a ''theology'' of the Elevation which was at once oblation and devotion. Nowadays, the Great Elevation of the Sacrament at a ''TLM'' is simply for the benefit of stupid pious ladies waving tissues and counting beads.

The Gospel has been changed to St Luke 10:38-42, which, while having no apparent connexion to St Mary, expresses her passive and active role in the ministry of Salvation. We do not know why the Fathers, in ancient days, settled upon this pericope of the Gospel for the Assumption, but they had encyclopedic knowledge of the Scriptures (we know this because before the days of printing, monks and canons of collegiate and cathedral churches were accustomed to sing the psalms from memory, and the fact that much of the Office comes from the remotest corners of the Bible) and in deference to Tradition there is no reason to change it. The new Gospel comes from St Luke 1:41-50 (the Magnificat), doing away with all subtle decorum.

Our Lady of Sorrows...pretty apt I'd say.

And so, anyone who, in pride and insolence and the spirit of contempt for Tradition, uses Signum Magnum over Gaudeamus, let him be anathema. Anathema, anathema. You are in a state of de facto schism with the Tradition of the Church, and you are apostate from the True Faith - worthy of a thousand anathemas.

Anyone who, striving impiously to withhold the ancestral Tradition for St Mary's Assumption and Dormition from Christ's faithful, uses Signum Magnum over Gaudeamus, let him be anathema. May they be damned by Jesus Christ and cut off from the communion of Christ's Holy Church.

If anyone is offended by this post, too bad. I am not sorry for anything that I have said, since it needs to be said. I am supremely confident in the correctness of my view. What I don't quite understand is why those Traddies who agree with me just go along with Signum Magnum, against their consciences. Why do Palm Sunday properly when you can't even get a Marian feast right? ''The wicked shall be turned into Hell,'' (Psalms 9:17).

By the way - on Monday a question I put to this individual went unanswered. If a Roman secular priest went on with Gaudeamus, in spite of Munificentissimus Deus or the new propers, was he in a state of sin for having done so, and if so why?


  1. My dear, I thought you were dead. Terrifically glad you're alive and well after all.

    Don't you think "heresy" is really just an invention of post-Reformation Roman Catholicism? The real crime (which by your lights Pius XII appears to have committed) is "heterodoxy" - if indeed the treasure of Tradition is preserved, understood and expressed Liturgically - presumably one cannot be "right worshipping" if one does not keep the orthodox faith nor orthodox if not right worshipping. Of course no Pope can proclaim anything contrary to Tradition - that's like a triangle with four sides; but you are right, that is exactly what Pius is trying to do in Mediator Dei (I am sure this pointed out in Hull's Banished Heart; he seems to think all the evidence he accrues should make no difference to our adherence to the Roman Catholic Church, a conclusion I find if very difficult to share...). That's the real strength of your argument (though sadly somewhat lost among your anathemas). If popes have been guilty of steering the Church gradually farther and farther away from Tradition (since the eleventh century?) then that is to descried carefully and proven to the reason before you can possibly know what to do next (and there's the rub).


  2. In the introduction to their translation of the Festal Menaion, Mother Mary and (the then) Archimandrite Kallistos (Ware) wrote the following passage.

    “In 1950, when Pope Pius XII proclaimed the dogma of the Bodily Assumption of Our Lady, members of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in France approached Metropolitan Vladimir, Russian Exarch in Western Europe for the Ecumenical Patriarchate, inquiring what the belief of the Orthodox might be on this matter. In answer the Metropolitan urged them to read the Orthodox office of the Dormition, used on 15 August; and he said that he had nothing to add to what was written there.”

    Just prior to that, the same authors wrote, “The core of Orthodox tradition is to be found in the service books: lex orandi lex est credendi—we express our faith in our prayers.”

    Immediately before that, they wrote, “No real insight into Orthodox theology is possible without a proper knowledge of Orthodox worship. It is no coincidence that the very word ‘Orthodoxy’ should mean not only ‘right belief’ but ‘right praise’ or ‘glory’.”

    They introduced these words by beginning the paragraph with: “The preceding pages have indicated only a very small part of the rich and many sided teachings to be found in the liturgical texts for the Great Feasts. These texts are not to be approached simply as pieces of ‘devotional’ poetry, designed to move and edify the worshipper. They are, on the contrary, intensely theological [original emphasis]—a primary and essential source for any understanding of the faith.”

    (To be continued...)

  3. (Continued from the above)

    A greater, and less impetuous, man would, no doubt, say—like Metropolitan Vladimir, above—that he had nothing to add. I, on the other hand, cannot resist the temptation of ‘putting in my oar’.

    Only Orthodoxy possesses the fulness of Sacred Tradition; furthermore, only Orthodoxy has a proper understanding of that Tradition.

    Protestants generally reject Tradition, and acknowledge only what they perceive to be contained in Holy Scripture. Nevertheless, as I have written elsewhere, “they have no commonly recognized means of agreeing an authoritative interpretation of scripture acceptable to them all; therefore, Protestantism continues to splinter into an ever-increasing number of divisions.”

    Tradition, by which we have received that faith professed by the ancient Church of Apostolic times, consists of much more than just Holy Scripture. It comprises the transmission of an apostolic written and oral tradition—to which St Basil the Great gives witness in the fourth century—communicated to us through the Apostolic Canons, the Symbols of Faith, the ancient Liturgies, the Acts of the Martyrs, the ancient records of the Church’s history, the writings of the Church Fathers, the very spirit of the Church’s life, and is expressed in the Canons of the Œcumenical Councils. It is the Church—as the Body of Christ on earth—that has been appointed as the guardian of Tradition. One might say that Scripture Itself belongs to Tradition. After all, the Church existed well before the first writings of the New Testament were committed to paper; and it was the Church that decided which books were to be included in that ‘Canon’ of writings which were to form the New Testament.

    The Papists give lip service to the concept of Tradition; but, in practice, they have replaced It with the papacy. The Papist has no interest in such matters as the writings of the Fathers or the decrees of the Œcumenical Councils; for him, Tradition has been reduced to whatever the Pope of Rome has last had to say on any particular matter.

    So, where is the Church to be found? In an ever-fragmenting number of groups in which every individual is free to interpret scripture according his ‘conscience’? In a monolithic structure headed by a supreme dictator who is free to re-interpret Christian Tradition at his whim? Surely—by definition—She is to be found in Orthodoxy—the only guarantor of that Tradition.

    Moreover, only Orthodoxy preserves intact a Christian liturgy that expresses the truths of the Christian Faith. Lex orandi, lex credendi!

  4. Poor boy. I'll say a novena to the Sacred Heart for you.

  5. Dear Patricius,
    the very beautiful and ancient Introitus Gaudeamus omnes in Domino was originally the Introitus of the feast of St. Agatha. Later it was applied to All Saints, to the Assumption and to the feasts of several other Saints, with the necessary change of the name of the feast mentioned within this Introitus. SO you can hear the melody in any Catholic Church where the Mass on the Feast of All Saints, for example, is chanted. Also, there is a wonderfully beautful CD produced by the SAint Gregory Society with a live recording of Mass on the Feast of the Assumption, with the older Introitus ''Gaudeamus omnes in Domino, festum celebrantes Assumptionis...''
    As for the words of Consecration of the Chalice, in the traditional Roman Rite Mass the priest says the words ''Haec quotiescumque....'' immediately after the words of Consecration proper, but in a stiller voice, often genuflecting as he prounounces them. Thus, they are spoken before the Elevation, not after.
    En fin, May you have a blessed Feast of the HOly Apostles Peter and Paul, founders of the Church of Rome.

  6. "Only Orthodoxy possesses the fulness of Sacred Tradition; furthermore, only Orthodoxy has a proper understanding of that Tradition."

    Well, perhaps. But to belong to this Byzantine Tazropapist faith one must have Greek DNA according to Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (

    One must, or may, also question the pro-abortionist statements of the 'Ecumenical" leader of the Greek religion as well, who stated that the Church (Byzantino Tzaropapist) also:

    ”respects the liberty and freedom of all human persons and all Christian couples.”

    ”We are not allowed to enter the bedrooms of the Christian couples,” he said. ”We cannot generalize. There are many reasons for a couple to go toward abortion.”

    Makes one rather question much of the Byzantine hoopla about "True Faith" and all...

  7. Dale--

    I think you misread +Demitrios' remarks. Read the article you cited again, and you will find that in commenting on the 100th Anniversary of a Greek Orthodox church in a small city on the Illinois-Iowa border, +Demitrios ascribed the continued existence of that particular church community to (1) holding onto the true faith, and (2) Greeks being really proud about being Greek. The unspoken part of this statement is that Orthodoxy has become an essential part of Greek identity; nevertheless, the converse (Greek identity is an essential part of Orthodoxy) is not necessarily true, and nothing in the article you posted indicated that +Demitrios asserted that it was. While ethnic chauvinism is a problem that pops up from time to time within Orthodoxy, this article is not evidence of phyletism.

    Of course, this bit about +Demitrios was warm up for your main point, namely that you believe that the fact, and let us assume for the sake of argument that it is actually a fact, that the Ecumenical Patriarch is a heretic somehow negates the truth of Orthodoxy. While having heretical hierarchs certainly is a scandal, I cannot help but be amused by the irony of your making the argument in this comment thread. Only a Roman Catholic, whose notion of "the faith" has no content independent from the pronouncements of the Pope of Rome could make such an argument. The point of the original blog post was that the Roman Catholic system is screwed up because the Pope has supplanted tradition--that there is no substance to the Catholic Faith other than what the Pope says it is. Naturally, we (the Orthodox) do not see the faith this way. There is a true faith, an Orthodox faith, that exists apart from any particular hierarch--even the one dwelling in the Phanar. It is the Faith that judges the patriarch; the patriarch does not define the what the Faith is. If a hierarch teaches heresy, this in no way causes any reasonable Christian to question the truth of the faith, it rather should cause such a person to suspect the hierarch of being a heretic.

  8. Patricii,

    Since I was the one to whom you addressed that question I have (if you will permit) the right of reply.

    [I have only briefly scanned your whole post and will come back to it later and put up a proper response but here goes].

    My way of dealing with the question of whether a priest who said the earlier Mass would be committing a sin, and I see you say a Roman priest rather carefully (as Rubricarius rather helpfully pointed out that the Benedictine Congregations were given the freedom to use either the old version or the post-Dogma Pius XII Mass).

    My answer was this, and sadly it was a question, rather than an answer but (I thinK) it helps to put this issue in context.

    QUARE>? - Are there any examples of any secular priest who was censured or suspended or in any way punished for continuing to use the old pre-Dogamatic version?

    AND if there are NO EXAMPLES? If there are any examples, indeed of a priest who refused to use the Pius XII post Dogmatic Declaration Mass then we can see what the Bishop did. If there are no examples in history then your question does not arise and is just your tactic to avoid the problem with your argument.

    If the Benedictines were allowed by Puis XII to continue, on a Congregation by Congregation basis, to sign the pre-Dogmatic Mass then your criticism of Pius XII need to be considered in the light of this. Is this a sign of a Pope imposing a new Mass on the Roman Church? No, really that question now has to be considered.

    Good wishes and lovely to have had such an interesting and far-reaching discussion.

    In caritate Xp.,


  9. Han,

    It is nice to know that what your bishops believe, or do not believe, is not important. I have heard this same argument from Anglo-Catholics who remain in the Cof E, by declaring that what a bishop does or does not believe is not important since the creeds and theological teachings of Anglicanism are solidly Catholic. One can only suppose that in Byzantium faith is simply a personal opinion as well; in Byzantinism faith does not matter, nor does being in communion with heretics, as long as they are Greek, matter much either.

    If you believe that phelytism is rare in your denomination, good luck on that one. Here is a fairly recent letter from many of the faculty of S Serge, Paris, it would seem that this heresy is far, far more persuasive in Byzantium than you are willing to admit.

    As far as misreading the letter from the Greek Archbishop, his racism seems fairly open; and the fact that he applies this to religious belief is fairly troublesome. But to be honest, I have heard things directly from Greek and Serbian pulpits that make this all seem very, very mild. In our local Serbian parish, non-Serbs are not permitted to be full, dues paying, members of the parish, which exists only for people of Serbian origin. It is interesting to note that their new church building has been called a "Monument to the Serbian Race," and not being built for the greater glory of God.

  10. If you want an end to the liturgical mediocrity found in the Roman Church then the Anglo-Catholics are your people. "Orthodoxy" is no solution, particularly for a Latin, and is plagued by the very same minimalist mentality.

    Consider the following extract from a 2005 'Athens News' editorial, commenting on the sex scandals that have all but destroyed the reputation of the once revered Greek Orthodox Church:

    "Priests are only spiritually beholden to the church. Their real employer is the state, which will this year spend 157 million euros on their salaries and pensions. They are, by law, civil servants, and poorly performing ones at that. Churches charge for their services, although they are supposed to be free. It goes beyond the big three, baptism, marriage and the Great Ushering Off: individual priests illegally charge to perform blessings, exorcisms and other indispensable services. In the countryside, itinerant priests who are supposed to service more than one village often refuse to do their rounds without inducement. Across the country, services are poorly attended because they are poorly performed. The Greek Orthodox liturgy, founded on the mystery of faith, the power of church theatre and a musical tradition going back to ancient times, is today mumbled out of tune, in neon-lit domes. In short, people aren't getting their money's worth, and are in the process losing the beauty of their tradition."

  11. Thank you, Dale, for the link which i read with much interest and concern. Indeed, the two obstacles in the way of my joining the Orthodox Church are 1) which one? being that i am not of an ''orthodox nationality'', but am by birth Catholic, of the ROman rite; and 2) why should i be forced to become eastern in rite, when i am a western-rite christian? Nor do i wish to celebrate or assist at a pseudo-Roman Mass which has been byzantinised beyound recognition. THus, in spite of what Hull reveals regarding heteropraxis within the Roman Catholic church, in spite of the post-conciliar debacle which i have seen unfolding before my own eyes since my youth, in spite of everything I can only remain under papal jurisdiction, for in Eastern Orthodoxy there is no authentic, welcoming home for us. And i am too old to begin a whole new fight for ecclesiastical and liturgical survival...

  12. Thank you for the kind words Albertus,

    Yes, for many years I really thought that Eastern Orthodoxy could be home to the many of us who love both Catholic Orthodoxy and our ancient Roman traditions; but, after many years dealing with its reality, my conclusion is that Byzantium is so rent by hatred and phyletism that the only home offered would be to those who are self-loathing (it is indeed comical to come across Englishmen who have changed their names to something like Barsinufy declaring that they do not hate themselves or their own culture!).

    I find it particularly interesting to see some of the really hate filled diatribes against even the Pope's offer for a home to Anglicans coming from Orthodox circles. Angry that Anglicans may take the Pope up on his offer, but unwilling to make any offer themselves to anyone. Hence, one is damned if one does, and damned if one does not. I especially find problematic their insistence that both Anglo-Catholics and Roman Catholics are unbaptised pagans and that this seems to be our own fault, but what then happens when normal western Christians, proud of our heritage knock at their doors? They tells us we are unworthy of them.

    Another site you may find of interest is written by a true example of a self-loathing convert. What he says about his own people (the English) is truly offensive, but he does not stop there; he feels the need to attack everyone who is not of "Orthodox nationality" as you so well put it; what he has said about the Welsh I find personally offensive. The site can be found here:

    If this is all Byzantium can offer, it offers very little indeed.

    Finally, here are pictures of a so-called western rite service:

    If you can see anything western about it, other than a gothic chasuble, one thinks as an after thought, let me know! Although the Russian monk who invented the service will insist that it is 100% least in his own mind.

    Let us not forget that besides declaring that abortion is not a religious issue their Ecumenical Patriarch has also declared that "Orthodoxy is Hellenism and Hellenism is Orthodoxy," and no one batted an eye. What more can one say?

  13. Dale--

    As for the article you posted, other readers can read it for themselves and decide if your discovery of phyletism in +Demitrios' speech, wherein he made the unremarkable point that being a small ethnic enclave contributed to the longevity of a local church community, is exegesis or engesis.

    As for your two straw men argument, I shall address them in turn. First I never wrote that phyletism was rare in the Church. Rather, I wrote that it was a problem that arose from time to time. I found it interesting that you cited the letter reprinted in OCANews as something that supported your position. Had you read the letter, you would have found that the authors appeal to a Church Council to rebuke phyletism in the Church today. The letter, then, is evidence that phyletism is NOT Orthodox. Perhaps you were instead making the spurious assertion that the fact of phyletism exists somehow invalidates Orthodoxy. If you are also willing to likewise confess that the Roman Catholic Church condones contraception because a majority of Catholics engage in the practice, I will grant you the point.

    Similarly, I did not write that heresy on the part of a bishop was of no importance. That particular argument is a straw man which you have set up to avoid the topic of the original blog post. Patricius' original blog post, in accordance with where his blog has been going as of late, asserts the following: (1) There is something called the Catholic Faith that exists apart from the Pope, (1a) the liturgy is the Catholic Faith par excellence, (2) the Pope is not the author of this Catholic Faith, but rather the stewarad of the same, (3) if a pope makes himself the author of the Catholic Faith rather than the steward, he is a heretic, and (4) because Roman Catholicism teaches, both as a matter of doctrine (Vatican I) and as a lived reality, that the Pope is the author rather than the steward of the Catholic Faith, Roman Catholicism is false.

    Perhaps one can quarrel with Patricius' axiom that the Faith is apart from and above the Pope, or perhaps one can quarrel with his argument that the Pope has in fact not been a steward of tradition, but simply asserting that the Ecumenical Patriarch is a heretic does not address this point at all. At best it is a sophomoric tu quoque retort. The more interesting point, however, is that in singling out the Ecumenical Patriarch as a heretic and reaching the conclusion that Orthodoxy is therefore false, you have actually just confirmed Patricius' claim that Roman Catholicism has become a system that makes the Pope the author of tradition because the force of your argument against Orthodoxy rests on the assumption that the Ecumenical Patriarch is the author of the Orthodox Faith. The reason why this argument of yours carries no weight for us is not that we rejoice in having heretical bishops, but rather because we agree with Patricius' axiom that there is a Faith that judges the hierarch, not the other way around. Perhaps you had projected onto the world your own curious notion that the chief hierarch of a religion ought to be infallible.

  14. Albertus--

    You make an interesting point about the artificiality of Western Rite Orthodoxy. For example, inasmuch as the Roman Canon dates back to long before the schism, there is no reason why a Byzantine-style epiclesis should have been inserted into it. For my money, I agree with Cavasilas that the supplices te rogamus prayer in the Roman Canon is the equivalent of an epiclesis and serves the same purpose.

    Perhaps you have been following the news of Subdeacon Benjamin Anderson's (who previously authored the Western Orthodoxy blog) conversion to Catholicism and subsequent tonsure as a Benedictine monk. I suspect that he feels as you do. Why would on want to deal with both Catholic and Orthodox pathologies by being Eastern Catholic or Western Orthodox? One set of ecclesial problems should be more than enough for anyone.

  15. Patricius, benzodiazepines. I'm sure NHS covers it.

    All in good humor! Snarks are really risky on the internet. Anyway, I don't see the need to get really excited about the Assumption Mass. Most poor schmoes get indifferently rattled out lunchtime Low Masses on days of obligation. It'd be better to have anything that remotely resembles the Western musical patrimony than a cantor screaming out responsorial psalms.

    I agree that the ancient propers were better written. I wouldn't consign Pius XII to hell, though. No one knows the judgements of God. Trust me, the Word Incarnate has got a phonebook-thick list to go over with me when I get to Purgatory (if that much). Ain't no desert ascetic here, for sure!

    My issue with Munificentissimus Deus is not the modification of liturgy. Pius XII did not satisfactory proclaim that Mary died before being taken body and soul into heaven. This is the clear teaching since the Palestinian genesis of the doctrine and feast day. I hold to the view that she indeed died. A confirmation of her mortality is necessary for her to foreshadow the Final Judgement. Munificentissimus Deus allows for my interpretation, but does not prescribe this interpretation as dogma.

    Read Stephen Shoemaker's study on the Transitus Mariae for insight into the development of the Assumption/Dormition. His translation is clear and succinct.


  16. Han asserted the following:

    "Similarly, I did not write that heresy on the part of a bishop was of no importance. That particular argument is a straw man which you have set up to avoid the topic of the original blog post."

    So, if I understand you correctly, the question of a major leader of the Byzantine denomination supporting abortion is only, for you, a strawman? One may, one suspects, simply pass all heretical teachings, both personal as well as institutional, off by use of the same type of terminology; and in the end it signifies not too much more than an attempt to pass over the really difficult reality that although you may wish to attack both Roman as well as Anglican bishops as heretics, your inabiility to deal honestly with your own heretical bishops seems lacking in openess and honesty.

    Yes, I do understand, and I might add, agree with the position that Patricius has made concerning the fact that the Pope, especially since the recent pronouncement of personal infallibility, has, in some measure, de-throned Tradition as a guiding principal of the Catholic Faith; but I fail to see where the ethno-centricism of Byzantium, whilst different in some aspects, is really too much different. The limiting of the "True Faith" to a single cultural expression seems contrary to even having the Catholic Faith.

    I also agree with your summation of the Byzantine bowlderising of our ancient and sacred traditions by stuffing in a Byzantine innovacation (I have also used Cabasilas's support of the "Te Rogamus"), but the fact that the Byzantines cannot really see beyond certain cultural fixations on this issue are truly problematic. The problem with the western rite, besides the outright hatred displayed by most of the Byzantines to anything remotely non-Byzantine, is the fact that for it to be acceptable to Hellenism, it must be so culturally Byzantinised that there is nothing left of our cultural traditions; so why even bother with the song-and-dance?

    One must be careful in admitting that this Byzantine bigotry is not limited to simply our Roman tradition, Byzantium hates all ancient, non-Byzantine traditions, be they Armenian, Coptic, or Syrian as well. When a group of Nestorians entered the Russian Church in the 19th century, their very ancient Syriac traditions were completely Byzantinised. This is, at least for me, problematic.

    The fact that even to point out the very glaring defects of catholicity in Byzantium usually result in ad hominem attacks from the Hellenists, which has happened several times to me on this very site, is also problematic.

    The reality that many leaders, all Greek, of your denomination can limit the whole Church to such phraesology such as, "Orthodoxy is Hellenism and Hellenism is Orthodoxy" seems to say it all.

  17. Dale,
    i have looked long at many sites which purport to be ''western-rite'' orthodox, and, though i have tried hard to be open-minded, in the end, i am very much put off by what i read and see. None of it is authentically traditional Roman-rite. And I am capable of telling between authentic and non-authentic Roman-rite liturgy. One site has several translations into English of the Roman Canon, (one being the old ICEL Novus Ordo paraphrase, translating 'Deus' as ''Father''), all marred by the inclusion of byzantine ''epicleses'' to the Holy Ghost. One of the so-called western rite liturgies is the invention of a still-living monk, who has included in his liturgy a litany and an offeratory before Mass. In the rubrics the priests are directed not to elevate the Host and Chalice, never to genuflect or kneel, and, what to do when they must used leavened bread. The bell is rung not at the Consecration, but at the ''epiclesis''! Byzantine Icons decorate their chapels rather than Western-style holy pictures and statues. Pews and kneelers seem to be forbidden, (though i have seen many a greek orthodox church with kneelers). Especially the falsified Offeratory and Canon in use by these western-rite orthodox leave me saddened. I had expected more respect for our ancient rites, and had hoped within eastern orthodoxy to find a safe haven for the forthsetting of the holy rites of our forefathers. Wrongly. Which is why, after much internal wrestling over the years, i have decided to stay where i am and continue to make use of the Motu Proprio of Pope Benedictus XVI (may Patricius forgive me...) :)
    As for a 'Roman Catholic'' Church: this is a wide-spread misnomer. I am Catholic, of the Roman RIte, which is what Roman-Catholic actually means. It is not the name of the Church. Likewise, a Byzantine Catholic in union with Rome is NOT a Roman-Catholic. He is a Catholic of the Byzantine Rite.
    A blessed Feast of the Apostles to all! Albertus

  18. Han, i appreciate your observations. As for the Roman Chruch, I do not regard the Catholic Church as heretical, in spite of its being plagued by heresy. Eastern Orthodoxy was several times overrun by heresy - Arian, Iconoclastic - a majority of its Bishops even being heretics. That did not make Eastern Orthodoxy heretical. In essence, Catholicsm and Orthodoxy are the same religion, at least in my eyes. Only some outward forms, expressions and mentalities differ. I respect both, whilst looking for and appreciating authenticity wherever i can find it. Both have their own peculiar human faults. Another reason for not becoming Eastern Orthodox is the backwardness, uncharity and fanaticism manifested by many Eastern Hierarchs and monks, surpassing, it seems to me, in their unkindness even the businessman mentality, lack of honesty and unpastoralness of most of our own Latin Hierarchs. The problem of ethnic nationalism seems unsuperable. This problem is much more characteristic of eastern Orthodoxy than of Catholicism. I am by blood half-English, half Dutch, my birth mother being English of Catholic religion, my birth father being Dutch of Catholic religion. Though I have been acquainted with the Byzantine Rite since childhood, and appreciate it immensely, it is not mine own. I love the Roman rite more! A person cannot truly honour a foreign rite, culture and language if he ignores, denies and despises hismelf and his own heritage. On this point i must agree with Dale.

  19. Sortacatholic,
    thank you for the link to Shoemaker's Book ont the Transitus Mariae. I looked at it online and now wish to acquire it. As a student, I held the opinion, and wrote my licenza thereon, that the Blessed Mother of God never died, but was assumed into Heaven without dying, onlhy having apparently ''falling asleep''. I find it interesting to read taht a fourth century writer consider such a scenario a real possibility, based on the Apocalypse, though he never expressly embraced this, or any other position regarding our Lady's Dormition and Assumption. Since that time i have gone over to the view that She truly fell asleep in the sense of dying, after three days being assumed bodily into Heaven. After reading the excerpts of the book on-line, I once again find the immortality theory intriguing...

  20. Dale-

    I don't know what you mean by "many leaders, all Greek" of [my] denomination. The chief hierarch of my Church is Met. Jonah of Washington, who is very much an American. If I had to guess from his surname, Paffhausen, I would guess that he is of German extraction.

    Regarding your retort about a heretical hierarch, if you are softening your position and now asserting that heresy on the part of a bishop is merely problematic rather than that which invalidates Orthodoxy, I would kindly ask you take the beam out of your own eye first, and consider the pronouncements and practices of Catholic bishops, archbishops and cardinals these past 60 years. Giving Communion to politician who publicly and unrepentantly support abortion on demand, as has happened numerous times in the United States, seems to me to be no different in kind, and quite a bit worse in degree, to +Bartholomew's comment. If you are willing to concede that the words and actions on the part of Catholic hierarchy the last few decades invalidates Roman Catholicism, then you might have a point about the statements of the EP invalidating Orthodoxy. If on the other hand, you believe that the gross and notorious abuse concerning the most important thing that Catholics due on the part of Catholic bishops, none of whom have been deposed, is problematic, but does not somehow make Catholicism false, your accusation is very much based upon a straw man argument. Please scroll up to your first post. After providing your examples, you wrote "Makes one rather question much of the Byzantine hoopla about 'True Faith' and all." This statement of yours was NOT "The Orthodox have problems that they need to deal with" it was "EP a heretic therefore Orthodoxy false." When I pointed out the error of this statement, you then accused me of arguing that Orthodoxy had no problems. This attribution to me of an argument I did not make is the very definition of a straw man.

  21. Albertus--

    I am gratified that you understood my point about how having heretical bishops does not invalidate the religion. I do, however have another observation. It is interesting that you write, "A person cannot truly honour a foreign rite, culture and language if he ignores, denies and despises himself and his own heritage." I would ask you to apply this sentiment to the statements of +Demitrios on the centennial of St. George's parish in Rock Island, cited by Dale in his first post, then think back on your own situation. Would you then consider that you have fallen into the heresy of phyetism, or is it only phyletism when this natural pride in one's own culture is practiced by others?

    The tension in the Church between the notion that there is no Jew or Greek in Christ, and the notion that the Church is to evangelize *the nations* (as opposed to "all humanity") will always be with us. We are not Muslims, after all, who, in holding that the Koran cannot be translated from the Arabic and remain the Koran, have denied ethnicity (other than Arabic) as a valid category. Rather, we accept that Christianity is inculturated--that the Gospel becomes incarnate in the particular cultures of Christian peoples just as Jesus was incarnate as a particular man. Ethnic pride becomes phyletism only when one takes the next step and confesses that the Gospel is incarnate ONLY in a particular culture.

    The reason why the phrase "Hellenism is Orthodoxy and Orthodoxy is Hellenism" does not scandalize me is because I am not scandalized by the very Roman nature of Catholicism. The Latin language, the forensic emphasis of the theology, the ordination rites and prayer postures derived from feudal ceremonies (by this I mean the enclosing of the newly ordained priest's hands in the hands of the bishop)--all of these are the natural outgrowth of a Church inculturated in Old Rome and in the Germanic invaders of the Western empire. Over time, particular expressions would develop as the Gospel becomes further inculturated. Indeed, one of Patricius' complaints against Rome is that Roman Catholicism is snuffing out the Englishness of the Church in England--that Rome is engaging in phyletism by equating Catholicism with Roman-ness. To some extent, this is unavoidable, what with the notion that the Bishop of Rome is infallible and has universal jurisdiction and all, but it seems that Patricius has come to the conclusion that the extent of the equivalence between "Roman" and "Catholic" has become so pronounced that he can no longer be confident that the Roman Catholic Church is in the Church--rather similar, though in the opposite direction, to Dale's sentiments.

  22. Hi Albertus,

    As I've mentioned, scholars can make plausible arguments for either position on the Dormition/Assumption. I was never able to have my article on the Transitus Mariae published; it's in a really rather sorry state anyway. All the best I suppose, as I am a 1st to 3rd century "pagan" Latin philologist, and not a hard-boiled Christian scholar. Actually, I don't know how I got into a doctoral program. If only I were rich or beautiful. Certainly wasn't either one of those that got me through the door.

    really OT: Read the Transitus Mariae in light of the Qur'anic verses of the Annunciation. There are striking circumstantial and thematic parallels between the Transitus and the Qur'anic Annunciation, specifically in the locations of angelic revelation. I suspect that many apocryphal Christian accounts of Mary were included and radically changed in the suras. A connection between Marian themes in apocryphal Christian literature and the Qur'an would be quite a breakthrough.

    sortacatholic (who wants to write his entire dissertation on the word quaesumus)

  23. Hans, you stated the following:

    "The chief hierarch of my Church is Met. Jonah of Washington, who is very much an American. If I had to guess from his surname, Paffhausen, I would guess that he is of German extraction."

    If he is indeed a German-American, he, following the demands of your religion, has hidden this fairly well under a heavy coating of Russian clothes. Is he so ashamed of his origin that he must dress like a Russian?

    Yes, indeed the ROMAN Catholic Church is very Roman! But the CATHOLIC Church has no problems with different rites and traditions within her universal fold. How many non-Byzantine rite parishes and diocese are there within the OCA? Which does profess to be the Orthodox Church for all Americans? All, at least, who are willing to become culturally Russian.

    The fact that this lack of catholicity is not troublesome to mambers of your denomination is troubling.

    You mention Roman priests giving communion to pro-abortionists as a scandal, and I do agree with you, but this is indeed a straw-man; what about leaders of your denomination who not only give communion to pro-abortionist politicians but grace them with awards from the Ecumenical Throne? Including Dukakis who was declared to be a "Greek Orthodox in good standing" even though he has been a communicant member of the Episcopal Church for many years. Or the visit of the Greek DNA archbishop to Obama and calling him the "New Alexander"?

    No Catholic bishop would declare "Romanism is Catholicity and Catholicity is Romanism," it would really, really upset millions of eastern rite Catholics; and would be theologically heretical; at least for us who believe that the Church transcends culture and race. Had your Greek Ecumenical Leader declared that "GREEK" Orthodox was Hellenism, that would still have been troublesome, but less so; but, he did not.

    The use of the specific term DNA is not cultural, but racial...there is a difference.

  24. Hello again Han,

    When I use the term "Greek" I mean all members of the Byzantine Church regardless of their own ethnicity. Please remember that one of the great leaders of Byzantium in Russia, Nikon, whilst burning two-finger crossing heretics declared: "My body is Russian, but my soul is Greek!"

  25. Han you wrote to Albertus:

    "Would you then consider that you have fallen into the heresy of phyetism, or is it only phyletism when this natural pride in one's own culture is practiced by others?"

    I think that you are missing the point. The issue is not that the Byzantines have pride in their own really beautiful traditions, but that by implication they exclude any culture other than their own in having any validity or worth.

    This is proven by history. The Byzantine suppression of all ancient liturgical traditions in the East, when they had the political power to do so, and their institution of artifical GREEK Patriarchates in the ancient east, accompanied by a hateful persecution against the Syrian and Coptic Churches and people whilst so doing. This is the problem.

    I do not begrudge you Greeks loving your traditions, as I do mine, but I have problems when you really, really hate the traditions of others. This would not be so problematic, but then you turn around and declare that only the Greek religion and tradition are true and the only means of salvation. The Greeks have broken communion with everyone; Armenians, Copts, Ethiopians, Romans, and Syrians; this is not simply love of one's tradition, it is a pathology. All whom they hate, they call heretics and unbaptised pagans. This is the problem.

  26. This comment has been removed by the author.

  27. Dale--

    You wrote: "If he is indeed a German-American, he, following the demands of your religion, has hidden this fairly well under a heavy coating of Russian clothes. Is he so ashamed of his origin that he must dress like a Russian?"

    This is just silly. I challenge you to find a single example of +Jonah dressing in "Russian clothes" as distinct from the monastic habit (since all Orthodoxy bishops are monks) or the choir dress or vestments appropriate for the occasion. Are you seriously suggesting that wearing the proper clericals is "dressing like a Russian?"

    In bringing up the suggestion that the lack of any non Byzantine rite parishes within the OCA as an example of Byzantine triumphalism, I take it to mean that you believe that the Uniates who have submitted to Rome is somehow an example of catholicity as distinct from Roman-ness. In all charity, I must assume that you make this argument because you are grossly ignorant of the history of these Uniates. The utter lack of respect for Eastern traditions that Rome has demonstrated over the centuries with respect to the Uniates is both well known and universally acknowledged such that the apparent reversal of this Latinization policy in the wake of Vatican II has been rightly suspected of being no more serious than the similar assurances given at the Union of Florance, Brest, and Uzgorod. To therefore use the existence of the Unia as an example of Roman respect for the traditions of other Churches, without irony, is laughable.

    Similarly, I am somewhat confused by your new-found equivalence between "Greek" and "Byzantine" after previously accusing +Demitrios of being a racist for bringing up the idea of Hellenic DNA as a reason for the longevity of St. George's in Rock Island. If "Greek" doesn't mean "Greek", but rather encompasses everything from Mt. Sinai to St. Petersburg, then it seems to me that your problem is not actually with phyletism, but rather with the Byzantine rite itself. It seems to me that you are content to praise it in the abstract, but cannot bear to witness its manifestation in practice. You approve of the a quaint and insignificant Byzantine museum safely contained by the Unia, but despise an independent Orthodox Church that doesn't apologize for not being Roman.

    Finally, I think you have again missed my point about Catholic bishops who give Communion to pro-abortion politicians. I do not wish to deny that problems exist in both our Churches, I only wished to point out that you had previously claimed that the existence of the problem within Orthodoxy invalidated the Orthodox Faith. If you wish to be consistent, you must then also admit that the same problem within Catholicism must therefore necessarily invalidate the Catholic Faith. If, in the alternative you are placing some sort of extra weight on the fact that the scandal has been occasioned by the EP, then I submit to you that you are projecting onto Orthodoxy an ecclesiology of Papal Supremacy (or EP Supremacy) that simply does not exist within Orthodoxy, and therefore your argument has no weight because the EP is just another bishop. To the extent that you are asserting that the Orthodox SHOULD have an ecclesiology that makes the EP some sort of super-bishop, you true objection against the Orthodox is that we are not Roman Catholics, which is a tautology and no argument at all.

  28. nos scimus quoniam translati sumus de morte in vitam quoniam diligimus fratres qui non diligit manet in morte. omnis qui odit fratrem suum homicida est et scitis quoniam omnis homicida non habet vitam aeternam in se manentem.

    "Aforetime, that is ere the reign of that tyrannical Man of Sin Pius XII (now in Hell)"
    So now you presume to act as Just Judge over the living and the dead?

    "my strongest argument for the ancientry of the doctrine was the liturgical witness at Rome and elsewhere"

    Well, yes, of course liturgy would provide evidene for the doctrine. But I think you have here confused the evidence supporting the existence of the thing at an early date with the thing itself.

    " - so angry in fact that last year, when the feast of the Assumption fell on a Sunday, I boycotted church altogether"

    This is why I worry about you, Patricius. This looks very much like your love of liturgical exactness being twisted by the Prince of Darkness to turn you against the obligation set down by Our Lord.

    "The new Gospel comes from St Luke 1:41-50 (the Magnificat), doing away with all subtle decorum."

    Are the words of Our Lady now too indecorous for the liturgy? This has worrying implications about your idea of what liturgy is.

    "By the way - on Monday a question I put to this individual went unanswered. If a Roman secular priest went on with Gaudeamus, in spite of Munificentissimus Deus or the new propers, was he in a state of sin for having done so, and if so why?"

    An interesting question, and - to my own surprise - I am going to say "yes". It is a sin, not in the act itself, but because it is an act of disobedience to one's patriarch. See 1 Clement 57:1 and so on.

    Furthermore, for all your complaints about liturgical change in the last century, I have questions which I would like to know the answers to. Specifically, how, if the Roman Pontiff has no right to change the Roman Rite, do you account for the changes made by Pope Gregory the Great, such as the moving of the Kyrie? Are they sanctified by time and practice? In which case, in another thousand years, will the propers from Munificentissimus Deus be then sanctified, or still defective?

    And if the Roman Pontiff has no jurisdiction to alter the Roman Rite, what of secular officials like the Emperor? Justin II, after all, was so bold as to add the Cherubikon to the Byzantine Rite. Is this element therefore an heretical abomination?

    These are not tongue-in-cheek questions. I want to see how your principles account for these things.

  29. Speaking about the lack of respect for the eastern tradition within the Catholic church is really rather rich coming from someone's whose denomination allows no liturgical diversity whatsoever!

    I suppose you have problems with the liturgical diversity within Oriental Orthodoxy as well. Their diversity is not limited to the East, in India they have Latin rite parishes, which have existed for over a century.

    Funny, the last time I met with two Antiochian bishops, they were dressed like normal clergymen; sans exotic headdresses. One suspects that perhaps the Germans in your denomination must be more folkloristic than the real thing!

  30. I really have neither the time nor the inclination to engage with Dale’s ever-increasingly hysterical rantings against those he terms “Byzantines”. For those readers who might be interested, my response to him may be summed-up in the comments that I wrote on this blog under the title “Na na na na, heeey, goodbye!”, posted by Patricius on Sunday, 13 March 2011; I have little to add to what I stated there.

    I am mildly curious to know what Dale might understand as being the attire of “normal clergymen”.

  31. 'Which begs another question ....' ! You mean, 'which prompts another question...' To 'beg the question' is to employ circular reasoning in an attempt to prove a point.
    May I recommend this?