I'm back from the Apostles' Fast. My abstention from blogging during the Church's fasts extends to an abstention from reading blogs as well. I cherished my time away from controversy, and maybe I'll be wiser this time around.
Och has been hitting the Antiochian issues pretty hard, and I'm not very well-informed about those issues. I don't like commenting on things about which I know little, generally speaking, and therefore I commented sizably about Antioch's Western Rite project. Maybe I don't know anything about that one, either, but I couldn't refrain from a minor swipe at Antioch's "we take all kinds of folks" adventurousness.
I'm more confident in the ROCOR's nurturing of a WR that doesn't contradict the mind of the Church than the Antiochians. Let's not kid ourselves. Antioch is willing to set all kinds of precedents that other jurisdictions would rather avoid. The absorption of the Campus Crusade for Christ evangelicals is another example of Antioch's daring.
My own misgivings about the WR pertain to the liturgy, not to the Orthodox theological propositions to which WRiters adhere. Orthodox theology is experiential, and the formal propositions come afterward. My concern is whether the WR experience contradicts Orthodoxy, and, in my mind, while that doubt persists, the ROCOR serves as a more reliable mother hen than Antioch.
Now, some half-clever lad may trot out the old canard that the WR existed during the first millennium and that the WR's Orthodoxy is established merely by that prior existence. There are all sorts of problems with a liturgy that has evolved and matured within a heretical context, irrespective of a "spotless" origin within a Patriarchate that showed clear tendencies toward heterodox divergence. Certainly, the Eastern Patriarchates were rife with heresies at times, but, at the end of the day, the East overcame those heresies, and didn't abandon the Faith. The West folded.
Please excuse my lack of empathy regarding the WR as an entry point for converts. At the risk of agreeing too much with Och, let me say that I am sick and tired of attempts to market the Church to enquirers who are squeamish about worshipping in an Orthodox manner and within an integrated Orthodox context. No one disputes that Orthodoxy is acted out in a noncontradictory manner in the Eastern liturgy. So why do we have to change anything for anyone? We need to make sure that the WR is safe for human consumption before we pander to adolescent whiners who take their Christ with a grain of salt.
Do you really think I'm being too harsh? Okay, let's take a look at Met. Jonah's outright overture to continuing Anglicans. He didn't say anything that Moscow hasn't been saying for a century or two, and he was correct in at least extending his hand. With a few exceptions, however, he may as well have been talking to himself. For all of their bluster about adding "reason" to Rome's duopoly of Scripture and tradition, those Anglican dudes can't even bring themselves to take the small baby step of excising the Romish filioque from their creed. They've become comfortable in their ossified heterodoxy, and this theological sloth is the context from which enquirers emigrate to jump into an ill-advised WR. I'd be very comfortable with turning over the WR project in its entirety to ROCOR's careful supervision.