Sunday, March 25, 2007

A Little Anti-Catholicism With Breakfast

This morning, reading what was otherwise a nice and enjoyable profile of a local Orthodox priest, I ran into this little attack on me and my faith:

The Orthodox Church, sensibly, is not wed to celibacy. Its priests, unlike their Catholic brethren, can live normal lives and have families. There's a catch, though. They must be married before they become priests. So, says Hughes, "There's the mad dash of seminarians to find wives."

He is delighted there is no pope in his life. "We have no pope and we don't want one, thank you," he says. "Freedom for us is very important."

Nor is he chained to original sin. "We never accepted the idea of original sin," he says. "What we inherit from our forebears is death. But guilt? Absolutely not. We don't believe a newborn child is sinful. That's utter nonsense." This guy is talking my language.

There exists in his church something called "ancestral sin," but he denies this is a matter of semantics: "We're only guilty for the sins we commit."

Forget the Immaculate Conception, too, he adds. Another weight off my chest. It is not dogma in the Orthodox Church, as it is in the Catholic Church. Mary was born subject to death like the rest of us, he explains, and consciously chose a life free of personal sin. That said, he finds his church hidebound. "It is highly resistant to change," he says. "We don't take risks very often. We're still living in the past."

Now, I only read the Boston Globe occasionally--so it might be seething with anti-Catholic sentiment in general--but I'm struck by the fact that in just the period of about a week and a half I've been characterized as backward and out of touch because I attend daily Mass, and abnormal because I live a celibate life!

You can read the whole article here.

And I'm going to write a cordial yet straightforward e-mail to the article's author, Sam Allis. If you'd like to also, here's his address:


Blogger Garpu the Fork said...

Hm. I noticed in the beginning of the original article that the priest in question used to be a Southern Baptist. I've had run-ins with them and their anti-Catholic bias before. I've had far more problems with evangelicals, former evangelicals, and former Catholics than anyone.

12:12 PM  
Blogger Mark Mossa, SJ said...

I'm not too surprised at it coming a little bit from the priest who was the subject of the article. Many Orthodox are sensitive to the fact that many consider them not very different than Catholics. So, they can have a tendency to emphasize those differences.

What was really troubling to me was that the author of the article is anything but objective, imposing his own prejudice into the article. Just the fact that he includes the things I quoted--not really necessary to illustrate a distinction between Orthodoxy and Catholicism--and how he presented (his use of the words 'sensibly' and 'normal') them, shows a clear bias. For me, it was like a smack in the face in the middle of an article which, up until then, I was finding quite interesting.

1:13 PM  
Blogger Jeff Miller said...

Funny that they never mention that their Bishops are only drawn only from celibates so I guess their bishops and of course their monks can't live "normal lives."

1:17 PM  
Blogger Garpu the Fork said...

Makes you wonder if the author is a former also sounds a lot like the Episcopalians I know out here. There's a massive push to evangelize to local Catholics, and that's some of the "logic" they take. Yeah, right, like I'd ever go to a church that insults mine.

I'm pretty tired of the obsession with sex on both sides of the argument. It seems like that aspect of Church teaching gets emphasized more than anything else among some on the blog scene, and it's often used as a criticism against the RCC. I heard one person say that the only valid way for a woman to have a spiritual life was through childbirth. Hello?!? What does that say to women who can't have or don't want kids? Both sides need a cold shower, IMO.

2:50 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

What? A journalist injecting his (usually not over-informed) views and biases into an article?

Unheard of! Scandalous! I'm shocked, shocked I tell you.

Shaken to my very core and AMDG,


5:42 PM  
Blogger David said...

Well, Mark, clearly you entered religious life in the wrong religion. And even us lay folks would apparently be better off somewhere else too. :-P

9:03 PM  
Blogger angelmeg said...

That's okay Mark, we want you even if you are backward and abnormal, apparently that is what we look for in our priests.

Good for us.

6:47 PM  

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