Comments Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse
Displaying 1 To 30 Of 535 Comments
It’s always nice to read comments from someone who realizes that history did not begin on the day of his birth.
Right you are Tim R. Mortiss. Liberalism lost after the McGovern loss to Nixon. McGovern lost the election but won the Democratic Party. Reagan won many Democrats over but this has been a mixed blessing for the Republican party since some of them were neo-cons who retained Progressive-style militarism (Arab Spring and all that) in their foreign policy.
Post war liberal ideals are preserved today in a lot of paleo-con thinking — sanctity of life, respect for family, subsidiarity, critique of Democratic/Republican crony capitalism (regulated free markets) and so forth. I don’t see it much elsewhere although Tea Party populism might bring some of this back. (The Obama administration is right to be afraid of this movement but establishment Republicans should fear it too.)
Still, as interesting as the politics are, political readings are a lagging indicator. Politics follows culture and the corruption within our political institutions indicates that a deeper cultural rot drives it.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On May 21, 2013 @ 12:36 pm
Dan, other liberals disagree with your assertion (and correctly so):
I never thought I would agree with Piers Morgan on much of anything but here he is absolutely correct. Note his use of the T word (tyranny, not T-Party).
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On May 18, 2013 @ 4:18 pm
Carl, you have the chronology wrong. The leaked emails came later. They confirmed the observation I made about a doctored press release and justified my decision not to trust OCAN when it first proffered the story.
In any case, I am not interested in a discussion about OCAN and the OCA. My only point is that relying on OCAN for the chronology of the recent OCA troubles undermines your argument since the editor of OCAN was exposed as a driver of the events he wrote about.
OCAN in other words was an advocacy site, not a news site.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On May 16, 2013 @ 12:45 pm
Carl, as a part-time writer, I can scan essays and see the time and effort it took to create them. This ability develops as a writer hones his skill.
This report is from OCANews.org and recently posted. Obviously there is a significant degree of tension between Syosset (OCA headquarters) and Met. Jonah. I don’t know the ins and outs of the OCA, but it appears that this report, given the extensive detail, was probably prepared for publication before the suspension (the part beginning with “How Did This Happen?” reads as if it was carefully constructed and edited; it would have taken considerably more than a few hours to write).
I never trusted OCAN after that. Nobody spits out a comprehensive press release of the kind OCAN did in just a few hours. If you look closely you can see it.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On May 15, 2013 @ 8:55 pm
Are you sure? I thought it was Sally Mae.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On April 30, 2013 @ 5:50 am
Stankovich, you are confusing two ideas: 1) the personal sanctity of leadership on the life of the Church; and 2) the effect of personal sanctity on the efficacy of the sacraments. While it is true that personal sin does not affect the efficacy of the sacraments, it is not true that personal sanctity has no effect on the life of the Church.
Ever read “Beauty for Ashes”?
There can be no wisdom, discernment, or any other fruit of the Holy Spirit (which, for a leader, is always given for the benefit of the neighbor) apart from the struggle for sanctity. It just does not happen.
Ken Miller is correct, wrong decisions can have deleterious and long-lasting effects. To make decisions lightly under the belief that “God will work out it in the end” is rash and immature. Sure, the efficacy of the sacraments might no be affected but we should fear more the loss of faith of those who may not realize over time why the sacraments are even necessary due to the neglect of their leadership — or worse, scandalized, by the behavior of a leader that throws the believer into crisis.
I would also expand Ken’s point that the “Holy Spirit guides the Church.” Yes, it does but sometimes that guidance comes as judgment.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On March 2, 2013 @ 3:16 pm
The characterization of Pope Benedict as a “a Modernist minted in the 1950s” is simply not true. Ever read the Regensburg Address? The essay is a gift to the Catholic and Orthodox Churches alike. I don’t know of any recent Orthodox theologian who has penetrated early Christian history with such precision and with such awareness of the contemporary crisis in Christendom.
(David Bentley Hart comes close in his analysis of the transition from pagan to Christian culture in Atheist Delusions. Lutheran(?) scholar Peter Leithart gives a brilliant analysis of pagan Roman theocentrism in Defending Constantine that provides historical context to Benedict’s thesis in Regensburg.)
The 1950s was the decade of the “Christian Century;” an age of unbridled optimism that was in fact a conflation of Church/Christianity and culture that would unravel a few short years later and cause the downfall of mainstream Protestantism that led it. Benedict understands this.
I have a short essay appearing on Catholic Online later tonight that discusses Pope Benedict’s contributions to the Orthodox Church in a bit more detail. He is not the unreconstructed modernist you claim him to be. I’ll post the link when it is published.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On February 13, 2013 @ 3:17 pm
Michael, I need to develop this more but here are some ideas:
We refer to God as Father and use the pronoun He to refer to God not to denote that God is male (a favorite feminist complaint) but to describe the nature of His relationship to us. God is Creator. But if God is Mother or if we refer to God as She, then it implies God’s manner of creation is similar to created woman.
Within the creation only women bring forth new life (the male contributes only one-half the genetic code in a single sperm cell that dies after it penetrates the egg). In other words, if God is Mother and not Father, then Her manner of creation would be perceived by what we know and see — life comes from woman — and the ontological distinction between Creator and created collapses.
(In historical terms this describes early paganism, but given that today even the atheist and agnostic perceives of God as monotheist — a testimony of the influence of the Church in culture — the only possibility that remains for us if Christian culture collapses is some kind hedonistic nihilism. A return to paganism is a conceptual impossibility as I see it. Watch for an increase in deviant sexuality and the exaltation of violence. Suicide may become epidemic. Priests, are you listening? You need to prepare for this.)
Christ came as a man. Christ also gives new life — His body and blood — which, again, is replicated with the creation by the female (from whom do we derive the nourishment to develop in the womb?). His maleness/manhood assures that the substance of the new life He offers is wholly distinct from the creation even though the manner in which it is offered employs it (His flesh, the materiality of the bread and wine, and so forth — the sacramental dimension).
Priests offer this new life in the Chalice. A male priesthood ensures no symbolic confusion between the Uncreated Christ and the created male because a male body cannot create new life. If a female offers the Eucharistic Gifts symbolic confusion is the inevitable result since two manners of creativity are offered — new life through the woman, new life through the Chalice.
Like the priest, the space he occupies from which the Gifts are consecrated and emerge to be consumed must, in my opinion, be exclusively male. Variance from this rubric undermines the structures by which we clarify the distinction between Creator and created. And I don’t buy the argument that because altar boys have no sacramental responsibilities (they are tonsured, not ordained), altar girls should be allowed. The priest does not sanctify the space. Christ does.
Now, if this sounds too abstract, look what happens once the the distinctions start to meld. First up is sexual confusion of the first order. Here I have the Episcopal Church in mind who in just a few decades after allowing woman priests became the ecclesiastical poster-boy (-girl? -person?) for homosexual activism.
Of course the feminist juggernaut could have been resisted if the Episcopalian Church did not have a preponderance of homosexual clergy in its ranks which robbed it of masculine identity and confidence, but it took the feminists to complete the institutional self-immolation. It shows us that a male priesthood is not enough. The priesthood (indeed, all ranks of clergy) must also be masculine. Their collapse is instructive.
I realize this is a bit vague but I am working on it. You see too the relationship between the collapse of ontological distinctions and sexual-identity confusion are related.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On February 13, 2013 @ 8:38 pm
His official position is that there is no theological explanation for a male priesthood and on this point he is correct. He does not endorse a female priesthood however because he does not believe it is proper to change practices on these grounds alone. He makes no argument against it.
The feminists argue that because no formal theological explanation exists the barriers are merely cultural detritus we can throw out (a vestige of patriarchalism and all that), although Orthodox sympathizers know female deacons and priests are a way off so the pressure now is on allowing altar girls.
I have a theory on why the priesthood must be male (and by extension the entire altar) but I get seriously hammered whenever I proffer it. I am convinced though that the hammering comes because the premise is true. (These days the strength of criticism against an idea can function as an indicator of its veracity.)
Briefly, a male priesthood (and deacons) preserves the ontological distinction between the Creator and created in our worship and thus Christian culture.
One thing I ask the feminists (some Orthodox women have embraced feminist ideas regarding the male priesthood) when they invoke the silence of the tradition: What female Saint has ever said a male priesthood hindered her growth in Christ? Silence works both ways.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On February 13, 2013 @ 6:58 pm
Radical feminism and radical homosexualism are closely related. Both ideologies — on their most fundamental levels — seek the repudiation of the Fatherhood of God.
That also means the activists are at war with culture and the received Tradition that shaped and informed it.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On February 13, 2013 @ 3:59 pm
The challenge to the church is to compete with these diversions rather than condemn or even judge. Condemning just makes folks defensive.
Incorrect. The challenge for the Christian is to draw the correct moral distinctions (as Fr. Peter does above) and learn how to live the Christian life with integrity amid the corruption. The job of the Church (which is to say priests and bishops) is to lead by example and offer the means by which this can be accomplished.
There is no competing with moral confusion or corruption. You will only end up sharing in the corruption in the end. The only antidote to being beset by the confusion or swallowed up by the corruption is new life in Christ that directs us into a counter-culturalism that begins in the heart.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On February 8, 2013 @ 3:54 pm
Very true George. The feminist juggernaut that led to the collapse of the Episcopalian Church would not have succeeded without a preponderance of homosexual clergy in its ranks. This shows too that not only is a male priesthood necessary, but the priests and other leaders have to possess a secure masculine self-identity. They have to be men, not just males.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On February 8, 2013 @ 3:40 pm
Sending women into combat is a sign of cultural decadence.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On February 8, 2013 @ 2:58 pm
Many good points here. One quibble, it is not the Constitution that is the problem. Rather, it is the collapse of the Christian cultural consensus — a moral collapse that has led to the rejection of Christian social mores. As a result, founding documents shift in meaning and the institutions built on them lose their founding vision. Europe has the same problem. It just plays out differently.
Solzhenitsyn gave an incisive analysis of the American side of the problem in “A World Split Apart — Commencement Address Delivered At Harvard University, June 8, 1978.”
A deeper cultural analysis of the Christian West was provided in “Men Have Forgotten God.”
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On February 8, 2013 @ 10:18 am
Let’s take these points one by one.
“goal of homosexuality is to diminish the fatherhood of God,”
I don’t think that is an accurate quote. I think I said the goal of homsexualism is to diminish (deny ultimately) the Fatherhood of God.
St. Paul deals with the homosexual questions in two ways. The first we can call the pastoral dimension where he mentions that some of the redeemed were involved in homosexual relations before their redemption.
The second deals with homosexuality as a cultural force where St. Paul relates homosexuality to a loss of divine awareness, a progressive distortion of the inner life, and so forth in Romans 1. Reading Chrysostom’s commentary on this passage it is clear that no condemnation of the person struggling with same-sex desire is implied.
Most discussion today conflates the two approaches under the rubric of compassion. Many people perceive that a critique of homosexualism is a personal attack on both practicing homosexuals and persons struggling against same-sex desire. It’s not of course.
Nevertheless, false compassion is a powerful lure and exists largely because the homosexual lobby successfully hitched their wagon to the Civil Rights Movement. This strategy (brilliant in its own way) was laid out in After the Ball, the blueprint for the homosexual rights movement, by Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen.
The denial of the Fatherhood of God is a bit too detailed to lay out here but I gave the outline in my post about the moral and theological collapse of the Episcopal Church. Essentially, I argue that the collapse of the ontological distinctions between male and female (sex is collapsed into gender) will abolish the cultural memory of God as Father. (Much liberal theology consists of obliterating classical distinctions.)
Seen in this way homosexualism differs little from radical feminism which at its foundation is a denial of the feminine. (And, yes, I have read the radical feminist literature — Rosemary Reuther, Sallie McFague, and the rest of the crew and know of what I speak.)
What feminism destroys by fanning the flames of female discontent, homosexualism destroys by appealing to the male impulse of unbridled sexual activity. The removal of the moral barriers against homosexual behavior is in fact the licensing of all sexual behaviors.
The cultural institution affected most deeply by this shift is the family. When the family is weakened, the culture weakens. If fatherhood loses its cultural authority, then the God of Abraham will that much harder to find.
Perhaps Pope Benedict was right back in 1993 when he wrote that the Church will shrink in size and be forced underground. Then, after a generation and man’s soul knows only barrenness, he will discover Christianity anew and wonder at this new thing that gives life.
homosexuality is a paucity of masculinity
This should be self-evident. Men who have sexual intercourse with other men violate their own manhood.
This is not true of the man struggling with same-sex desire and chooses a life of celibacy. His journey of masculine self-identification and maturity is achieved in a different way.
Nor is it true that a compulsive fornicator with women is somehow more masculine than the man who practices self-control. Here the radical feminist is the compulsive fornicator’s best friend. She frees him of responsibility. (Playboy Enterprises was the first company that put its corporate weight behind unrestricted abortion.)
When homosexual behavior becomes an ideology (and homosexualism is an ideology), then same-sex relationships take on a culture-shaping power. Here is where the denial of the divine enters in; what Paul meant when he wrote, “Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator.”
Think this through. Depositing the progenitive seed into the waste canal of a same-sex partner and heralding it as an act of liberation is an act of nihilistic irrationality. Awareness of the God ordained natural order is diminished and the memory of God may disappear altogether. Reading Romans 1 from the post-Christian side two millenia later, Paul’s passage lays out Christendom’s path to cultural suicide.
Orthodox writers are “treating same-sex behavior as normative (ontological; same sex-desire is a constituent of created personhood),
Yes. The concept of ‘sexual orientation’ does not exist as a distinct anthropological category in Orthodox theology. Moreover, every passion effects an orientation of some kind if left unrestrained. Your assumption that ‘orientation’ applies only to male desire for another male or female to another female is arbitrary. There could be other sexual orientations as well (bestiality, inanimate objects) or even non-sexual orientations (the alcoholic’s passion for the drug, the glutton’s passion for food, etc.). Your use of the concept requires more deliberate reflection.
Your work, as far as I understand it, attempts to locate a biological basis for homosexual orientation although your writing is obtuse so it is hard to know for sure. Nevertheless, you are required to explain yourself if you claim the effort is an “Orthodox” quest — one you make as far as I can tell.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On February 19, 2013 @ 6:18 pm
Monk James writes:
This intinction business and the spoon it involves ought to stop. We are told by our Lord, Jesus Christ, to ‘eat’ His Body and ‘drink’ His blood. This pretty much doesn’t happen when we’re being spoon-fed both of them. We need to abolish the distinction between the way the clergy and the laity receive Christ’s own Body and Blood, a practice which Fr Alexander Schmemann consistently described as abject clericalism.
That’s how it is done in St. James Liturgy which a friend and I did yearly on his feast day a while back. I presume that ancient practice was carried forward in the Chrysostom Liturgy at least for the priests but I don’t know for sure.
We needed two priests to do the St. James Liturgy. One would place the body in the cupped hand of the recipient like a bishop does for priests in a hierarchical liturgy and the second would pour the chalice in the same way (recipient holds bottom to take a sip, the priest pours a little and wipes the cup). Of course we told everyone the proper way to receive before Holy Communion started.
It would solve the shared spoon issue too.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On February 13, 2013 @ 4:18 pm
But what is the argument? That remains unclear.
Your paragraph above says that “. . . a biological principle, in isolation from the symphonia will necessarily result in error. . .” Doesn’t this confirm my observation that unstated theological/philosophical presuppositions are in play?
So why the resistance to any examination to what the presuppositions might be given that you argue they are necessary to your method? And why do you scold those who want to examine your method as being scientific illiterates?
You define symphony as:
. . . a belief that medical science is a fundamental unity or a συμφωνία (meaning a unity of “sounds” that result in a single “voice”) of biology (including human genetics), psychology (including the impact of developmental experience and “events”), social (including environmental events) , and spiritual (including one’s faith, morality, integrity, transcendence, and sobriety) dimensions.
Are you trying to make a specific argument or are your contributions simply findings scientists have presented that theorize about a biological basis for same-sex attraction outside of any larger context? If the former, then you owe your readers some explanation of the presumed context. If the latter, then why the prologue about symphonia?
Do you see why people have difficulty following you?
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On February 9, 2013 @ 5:08 pm
Actually, I didn’t have you in mind at all, M. Stankovich. I’m only outlining the assumptions underlying the debate in the larger culture about the moral licitness of homosexual behavior in terms of Orthodox anthropology. These assumptions have entered the Church as well and if adopted a conflict will emerge shaped like the ones we have seen in other Christian communions such as the Episcopal Church. This is unavoidable.
My argument with you is that you resist any examination of the philosophical/theological assumptions guding your arguments. That’s why I am waiting for a thesis statement.
You approach seems to be this: Because a subset of research on human behavior is ostensibly scientific, the only legitimate way to address the behavior is by engaging the subset. The problem is that I know too much history to take the findings of behavioral science at face value, especially about such culturally charged issues like homosexual behavior. Remember eugenics?
That’s why you owe your readers a thesis statement. What are the assumptions guiding the way you assemble the data that you pull from here and there? The only assumptions I see so far are materialist and deterministic. Am I wrong?
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On February 9, 2013 @ 10:01 am
Peter, one other point: What the debate about homosexuality in both Church and culture represents is the elevation of passion to ontology. This leads to a redefinition of what constitutes the human person in fundamental ways. Those who claim to speak for the Church should understand this but often they don’t.
I also believe that any Orthodox Church that tolerates homosexual activity in leadership but pretends the misbehavior does not need to be addressed as long as the behavior remains private, will experience the same internal fracturing we see playing out today in the OCA.
On one level this concerns treating same-sex behavior as normative (ontological; same sex-desire is a constituent of created personhood) or as a passion (same-sex desire is disordered). On a deeper level and the place from where the ecclesiological conflicts about homosexuality originate, the issue is that two variant definitions of the human person (anthropology) come into irreconcilable conflict. Arguments about the moral licitness of homosexuality encompass much more than homosexual behavior, in other words.
Much is a stake. The collapse of the Episcopalian Church over homosexuality shows us that. I think the conflict is first cultural and only second polemical, however. In other words, Churches that tolerate homosexual behavior in leadership inculcate the conflict into their internal culture and only when the conflict can’t be suppressed through internal mechanisms does it come to the surface and become polemical. By the time the discussion becomes public however, it may be too late. The internal culture may become so distorted that renewal becomes impossible. In that case the only thing that can bring healing is judgment. If God deems not to bring judgment, all that awaits is collapse.
If I am correct, then the same kind of conflict we see playing out today in the OCA will occur in the GOA as well. Two jurisdictions that may be spared will be ROCOR and the Antiochians because they strictly apply the moral prohibition against homosexual behavior in the clerical ranks.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On February 8, 2013 @ 7:16 am
Peter, you might like my essay “Orthodox Leadership in a Brave New World” that I wrote a while back and incorporates the themes you bring out in your note above.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On February 8, 2013 @ 6:44 am
Of course there is a difference between “impenetrable” and “outside the traditional teaching of the Church” but if enough people are telling you your essays are impenetrable, they probably are.
A clear thesis statement would help clear up whether the confusion exists on the reader’s end or yours. .
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On February 7, 2013 @ 5:17 pm
I started it years ago but never finished it. But I am familiar enough with Johnson to know the thesis. Johnson is one of my favorite historians. His “Modern Times” is easily one of the best books I have ever read.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On February 7, 2013 @ 5:27 pm
Carl, no question. Read David Bentley Hart’s “Atheist Delusions” next. It has a chapter on what pagan antiquity was like before the Resurrection occurred and the Gospel was preached. The putting to death of death was of such cosmic significance that it overthrew a culture driven by the feat of death and all the violence that it entailed. We moderns have a very difficult time understanding this.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On February 4, 2013 @ 8:01 pm
Carl, I found “Defending Constantine” easily one of the best books I read in the last five years. You will like it. Here’s a review I wrote for Acton about it:
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On February 3, 2013 @ 4:01 am
Monks have expenses just as monasteries do. Why do you think monasteries sell goods and accept donations? How else are they going to pay for the gas to drive the tractor or build the new church?
The only difference between you and a monk is that in a monastic setting the monks share all things in common. So yes, the monks don’t draw a salary or separate paycheck, but they work for a living just like everyone else does.
A monk in a non-monastic setting draws a paycheck. That is because the economic infrastructure outside a monastery is different than inside one.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On January 22, 2013 @ 10:22 pm
I’m no so quick to accept B00mer’s analysis at face value. Ideas matter and so do people. There are times when men of courage have to stand up and say no. Sometimes it changes the world. Other times it leads to martyrdom.
And no, drawing moral distinctions is not scapegoating. Scapegoating happens when a social organization (family, buisiness, Church, whatever) is beset by such sin that it loses its equilibrium (stasis). Instead of repenting however, the people within the organization place blame for the problems caused by their sin on another person. That person (the scapegoat) is driven out, the people feel exonerated, and the organization achieves equilibrium (stasis) again.
Christians need to repent. That makes them capable of seeing scapegoating when it happens. It also helps them draw clear moral distinctions and, if necessary, act on them. This process has nothing to do with scapegoating, however.
What a Christian’s actions should be is a matter of great deliberation and discernment. But to blame the problems in the world merely on the fact that Christians are not Christian enough misstates the Christian’s responsibility to the larger culture and ignores that the battle between good and evil exists there as well.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On January 22, 2013 @ 5:49 pm
Definitely cats. Low maintenance.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On January 22, 2013 @ 5:55 pm
Actually that’s not what happened. Pensacola had a dynamic priest that pulled the parish together and gave it a more American orientation. He moved on and was replaced by a priest with instructions to re-Greekify the parish. (I don’t want to use the term “Hellenize” because it confuses GOA/Constantinopolitan political goals with Hellenism.)
It was a bad fit and many in the parish pushed back. They tried contacting Atlanta for months but were rebuffed (no returned calls, that sort of thing). Finally they had enough and approached Bp. Antoun who took them in.
These people were the workers/contributors as the success of the new parish makes clear. Atlanta tried to bring them back after the break occurred but it was too late.
No split would have happened if the parish was allowed to continue on the track established by the dynamic priest. This occurred at a time when re-Greekification was high on the agenda and more often than the policy was clumsily implemented. Pensacola was not the only parish that suffered although it is one of the more visible.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On January 19, 2013 @ 10:38 am
Here’s an article on the morality of lethal force expressed in very practical terms. A good read.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On January 19, 2013 @ 5:07 am
Back To Stats Page
The sheep can’t hire a lawyer of its own volition.
How about establishing a Department of Defenders of the Sheep? We will call it Farmland Security. Would that cover it?
Your reasoning dead ends with the question perplexing the Danes. . .
The acts provoke moral disgust. The question is whether immorality should be made illegal. The FSA group discussing the new animal protection act has been in disagreement about this . . .*
. . . and your only possible answer is to lessen the disgust.
Look on the bright side. Maybe you can land a consulting job with Farmland Security!
*Source: Animal brothels legal in Denmark
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On January 28, 2013 @ 12:13 pm