Saturday, October 27, 2007

Ecumenism vs. the Ecumenical Movement

...just like there's Vatican II vs the "Spirit of Vatican II." Ochlophobist explains why the "ecumenical movement," as it has been expressed in the World Council of Churches, the National Council of Churches, the legions of joint commissions, and all so-called "interdenominational" orgs, is dead. He's not singing any Panikhidas for this corpse though. Memory infernal, in fact:
No serious Orthodox theologian or bishop ever went to a WCC meeting expecting to learn something true which Orthodoxy lacked, and then come home and teach the flock, "you know, we need to start doing (or believing) this..." That being the case, the only person who could still believe that the WCC was actually for the unification of the different sects and Churches would be that person who believed that all the groups actually believed the same thing, or that none of them believed anything that was not in some fashion negotiable (such people believing such things do exist). The WCC ended up a self-righteous bureaucracy that is functionally impotent. The NCC is a political propaganda machine, a fact which even most on the theological left admit, and it remains solvent only through the financial support of groups that have no interest in ecumenism, that are not even churches at all but political groups - and every player in the current and former NCC scene knows as much.
On a simple fact that Catholic apologists refuse to honestly address:
We [the Orthodox] have very, very, few bishops who speak grave theological error in public, and this is in part because we take hierarchical order so seriously. Make fun of us as you will, we prefer disputes over who stands where in line to all of our bishops holding hands in a circle while each pursues his own particular theological, liturgical, and sociological agendas.
On the naivete of the current "reunification" pipe-dream in fashion in RC circles:
If the RCC returns to Tradition, it will be the work of the Holy Spirit, which is generally subversive, confronts banality at every turn, and is frequently almost absurd. This does not happen through meetings of high ranking ecclesial Tradition consultants. Many Orthodox (and not a few Catholics) think that a dose of Orthodox Tradition could fix some of the serious problems in the RCC. It simply does not work that way. Even more overt, perhaps, is the belief that the Papacy will fix the problems of the EOC. If we reunited with the RCC, especially under the terms that Catholic friend Mike Liccione suggests, there would still be Orthodox bishops walking out of rooms when other Orthodox bishops walked in. If the Pope tried to arbitrate between them simply as the authority, the losing side (and there would be a losing side) would in most cases go into schism and reunite with those Orthodox Churches which never joined with Rome in the first place.
On the iron cage of dialecticism in the West:
It is worth noting that Christ, as the Gospels well show, refuses dialectic at every turn, and especially at the most brutal turn. He does not defeat Death by Life. He defeats Death by death. He refuses to enter into a relationship of necessary conflict even with death. Because of this, death is destroyed, as Death had set itself up in a necessary dialectic with Life. Life refused to honor a necessary conflict, and thus we have the situation where Life itself goes to Death, and the bargains Death makes, those petty existential resolutions made between life and death, are now pointless. Death is thereby overcome, and there is no Death, now only Life. Christ honors no determinism, He accepts no terms but those the Father has given. There is no synthesis of necessary conflicts, there is only Christ, all in all. The reconciliation of Christ is that of bringing persons who have in reality embraced irresolvable futility (perhaps seeking dialectic resolution), turning them in the opposite direction (repentance, as opposed to progressive movement towards dialectic resolution), and having their lives recapitulated in Christ.
The only authentic ecumenism:
We should hold no hope in programs or schools, including ecumenism, but we should cultivate real things, such as friendship....the most significant shared relationship that Christians of different traditions can have with one another is a relationship of shared suffering....It seems to me that those Christians who are serious about unity are those who suffer in the Name of Christ. If the state or Islam or some other foe is not attacking us at the moment, let us outdo one another in our voluntary sufferings for Christ - serious prayer, fasting, almsgiving. Let us give up our vain attempts at projects and schoolings, and give ourselves over to be recapitulated into the Man who emptied Himself. There is our only unity.
There's really too much to blockquote. Just read it.