More on Pope Francis

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Pope Francis
A Jesuit with a Franciscan’s Simplicity

In Catholic tradition, Francis of Assisi had a mystical vision in which Christ told him to rebuild his Church. In taking the name Francis, this pope seems to be pledging himself to rebuild the image and integrity of a church that has suffered from widespread allegations of corruption, and the cover-up of the child sex abuse by innumerable members of her clergy.

After becoming archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998, he sold the archbishop’s palace, preferring instead to live in an apartment. He was known to cook his own meals, and rejected the services of a chauffeur, preferring instead to ride the bus. As Jesuit Provincial, he put an end to the Liberation Theology being taught among Jesuits under him, demanding they stop their involvement in politics, and place their energies on serving the spiritual needs of their people.

This is the man who went to a hospice during Holy Week, and washed the feet of twelve aids patients. Known for a simple lifestyle and for dedication to social justice, as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he had taken a strong stand against the corruption of politicians and business men in Argentina. He has not only been a champion of the poor, but a champion of democracy.

Pope Francis, upon coming out on the papal balcony, asked the crowd to join him in praying “for our emeritus bishop, Benedict XVI.” Following the “Our Father,” the “Ave Maria,” and “Glory Be” prayers in Italian, the Argentinean then continued: “Now, let’s start working together, walking together…this is part of the governance of love, of trust.”

And before giving the traditional Urbi et Orbi blessing to those in the crowd, the Argentinean asked “for a favor. Before the bishop blesses his people, he asks that you pray to the Lord to bless me, the prayer of the people for the blessing of their bishop.” As he said these words, he bowed his head and clasped his hands. A 15-second silence lasted in the reported 100,000-person crowd.

In taking the name of a saint known for humility and a simple lifestyle, Pope Francis promises to be the Christ-like image of leadership the Roman Catholic Church, and, dare I say, the whole world, needs. With the rise of secularism, atheism, and Islam, the Christ-like witness we see in this pope, promises to be a leaven for the rebuilding of a Christianity that has been in decline. This, to my mind, is a pope we Orthodox can work with, and a man we can love.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Cardinal Bergoglio on a subway


  1. Esther Smith Holmes says

    Amen and thank you, Abbot Tryphon, for such kind words about the Pope.

    Reading about Pope Francis
    reminds me of a description of Bishop Alphonsus Liguori:
    “As in his spiritual direction, so in his preaching, he aimed at simplicity,
    gentleness and intelligibility”. The OCA had a leader with those three
    qualities and he was kicked to the curb. The present leadership would
    do well to aim for simplicity, gentleness and intelligibility – qualities
    that begin with humbleness. Esther Smith Holmes

  2. Abbot Tryphon writes, “Pope Francis, upon coming out on the papal balcony, asked the crowd to join him in praying ‘for our emeritus bishop, Benedict XVI.'”

    Compare this to how +Tikhon has treated Metropolitan Jonah.

  3. Indeed he is a man Orthodox Christians can love!

    We Greek Orthodox like to complain about the pope in all kind of ways but this pope’s example really contrasts the lifestyle of Greek Orthodox Bishops in America who live six figure suburban lifestyles that are funded by the faithful. How on earth can we listen to our bishops talk about Lent and Asceticism when their very lives contradict this message. After all for the 79th street wizards of smart it is all about the “$Dignity of the Office$”.

    When was the last time any GOA hierarch served the poor in a simple and uassuming manner? Are any of our GOA Hierarchs capable of riding the subway with the people to work?

    And now in a turn of events we see a Pope of Rome who is more ascetic and missionary than any Greek Orthodox Bishop in America. A Pope from Argentina with the Hellenic mind of the Church Fathers and the missionary zeal of Cyril and Methodius.

    There was a time ages ago when Greek Orthodox could raise up a man like Pope Francis. That time however has passed. At one time Greek Orthodoxy could change the world but sadly today Greek Orthodoxy is about omogenia (race) first and ethnic nostalgia for a world that is more fantasy than reality.

    • Bruce Wm. Trakas says

      I respectfully take issue with your comment, Andrew. My long time and active experience in the GOAA is the opposite of yours. I’m sure the metropolitan of the metropolis in which I dwell would take a subway if there was one, and he probably did when he lived in New York—I recall he told me he walked to the office often. His predecessor would do likewise, though he not did live near a subway. The GOAA priests I know and have known are Christ-centered devout pastors, reverently celebrating the Divine Services of the Church; proclaiming the Word of God and the salvic message of His Holy Orthodox Church; and ministering to their flock. While the Greek culture remains part of the life of most GOAA parishes (some more than others), it is essentially a diminished, rather insignificant role, especially compared to the place it had in the church 40 years ago; a Greek School Christmas program and Greek Independence Day are about all I hear about related to ethnicity in church anymore (I can’t remember the last time I heard about “OXI” Day) , aside from the Grecian Festival-wherein we give instructional church tours teaching our Holy Faith to the non-Orthodox public, but isn’t the festival more for fund raising purposes, than for that of a cultural activity? In my experience, I find your comments wholly unfounded, and unfair to the largely dedicated clergy serving our Holy Church.

      • Ordo Antiquus says

        “When was the last time any GOA hierarch served the poor in a simple and uassuming manner?”

        Is that what you really want, Andrew? That the magnificent liturgy of Orthodoxy be reduced into the minimalism that is, alas, favored by Pope Francis? (Try reading in Catholic blogs and fora about the very real panic in conservative Catholic circles about his and his friends’ liturgical ideas.) This is not the simplicity of the Orthodox saints, whose poverty coexisted with love for the Typikon in all of its glory and complexity. One indeed has to ask if it is simplicity and humility to refuse, in one go, the old traditions that characterizes one’s office. But that is what Pope Francis has done.

        I find it interesting that many “conservative” Orthodox, like conservative Catholics, are increasingly reducing tradition to obedience to moral norms, while doctrinal and liturgical concerns are treated as secondary and unimportant.

        • Quite so, OA.
          I believe I predicted on this site before the conclave that the next Pope could well be a reformer. Not in a radical sense, of course, but a liberal by comparison with Benedict’s papacy – sitting lightly on tradition, not liturgical, not liberal on doctrine or morals but quite likely to be a pragmatist, not a liberation theologian but one who bears the imprint of that school of thought. Francis is probably in that sense the most liberal minded cardinal they could have chosen. I expect he will take the Roman church in quite a different direction from his predecessor.
          Watch this space, as they say. Given that he is 76, he only has about 4 years to implement whatever his vision is for the church – most people go into as steep decline physically and mentally after 80.

        • Yes, I want bishops who serve others and not themselves at the expense of their flocks.

          I want bishops who behave like shepherds and not absentee fathers.

          We do not worship the typikon we worship Christ.

        • geo michalopulos says

          Ordo, I’m with Andrew on this one. It’s not “either/or” but “both/and.” What we get from the GOA is nothing but celebrophilia.

      • Bruce, can you name the last time a bishop of the GOA has directly served the poor in America where they live? Has a GOA Bishop ever washed the feet of AIDS patients?

        The bottom line is that my comments are true, accurate and perfectly fair. The GOA episcopacy lives a suburban life of wealth and power and not one of service to the weakest among us. People see this and that is why more and more they are tuning out.

  4. Patrick Henry Reardon says

    One wishes this man had been Bishop of Rome in 1054.

  5. Ken Miller says

    Humility is the mother of all virtues. May God bless pope Francis.

  6. ChristineFevronia says

    Abbot Tryphon, my gratitude to you for your shining example of true brotherhood. Pope Francis has all the love of my heart and good wishes for the mission he has been given, and he will be in my prayers.

  7. Ladder of Divine Ascent says

    Abbot Tryphon:

    “With the rise of secularism, atheism, and Islam, the Christ-like witness we see in this pope, promises to be a leaven for the rebuilding of a Christianity that has been in decline. This, to my mind, is a pope we Orthodox can work with, and a man we can love.”

    Wait, what is with this Islamophobic hate speech? Didn’t John X, our new “Orthodox” Patriarch of Antioch, declare we are brothers and worship the same God and must refuse such hate, fear, and arrogance as that of the Abbot?

    “Along with our Muslim brothers, we are the sons and daughters of this good earth. God wanted us in it to witness to His Holy Name, and in it we must stay, encouraging decent and respectful co-existence, refusing all kinds of hatred, fear and arrogance. To my Muslim brothers I proclaim, we are not only partners in the land and in its destiny, for together we have built the civilization of this land and shared in the making of its culture and history. Let us therefore work together in preserving this precious heritage. We (and the Muslims) are also partners in worshipping the one God, the true God, the light of the heavens and of the earth.”

    And is not Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople going to be in attendance at the enthronement of Francis? Does not the Catechism of the Catholic Church teach in paragraph 841?

    “The Church’s relationship with the Muslims. ‘The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.’ ”

    Did not Benedict worship at a mosque alongside Muslims facing Mecca? Did not Benedict teach that Muslims and pagans and even the demons will be reconciled with God? And does the Abbot REALLY think that Francis I is going to openly admit the last half-century was a mistake or even quietly change direction? And is not secularim and atheism a logical reaction to such religious universalism? Did not Roman “Catholics” fall away by the tens of millions from their church after Vatican II because on some level they correctly grasped the implications of all religions being the same (which is why bother)?

    To not speak Truth to the power of Rome; is not merely to pander to its schism and “traditional” heresy (now dead except for splinter groups like SSPX) but to its modern post-VII pan-heresy in hopes of some supposed cultural/social/political/economic gain; is to merchandise men’s immortal souls.

    But, perhaps I’m wrong and we must beware of the “ignorant” like the man below who would tell us that Muslims serve a different god. A “ignorant” man who literally weeps at retelling his feeling of absolute deception when he realized that his whole life he had been taught to follow a “God” that was not God.

    • If the new Patriarch of Antioch did say such a thing then that is unfortunate since it is heresey. Ladder, while I think you go too far, and seem to have a personal grudge, one thing is for sure. We must all stand for the truth even if it means our death on unpopularity. How the new Pope will turn out remains to be seen. As Orthodox we have the Church and the Fathers to look to, not modern sensationalism. In as much as the RCC returns to Orthodoxy, she should be encouraged. In as much as she continues to deviate from the truth, such things should not be glossed over.

      In reading the responses I see a real danger that some of the posters are enamored with a certain false exuberance toward the RCC because of recent scandals of our hierarchy. They would do well to remember St. John Chrysostom, St. Maximus, and St. Mark of Ephesus.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        Our Antiochian Patriarch did, in fact, say these things. He also said that we and the non-chalcedonains need (will) come together as one Church (paraphrasing). I hate to say it, but I, too, have misgivings. I so WANT to believe that things are going to get better, but the EP attending the enthronement of the Pope is yet another ominous sign. We are headed for a bumpy ride, my friends. The times, they “are a changing” . . .

        • Lola J. Lee Beno says

          You have to remember that he is living amongst hundreds of thousands of Muslims. Kinda like living right in the the middle of a hornets’ nest.

        • Patrick Henry Reardon says

          Gail Sheppard says, “the EP attending the enthronement of the Pope is yet another ominous sign.”

          It ranks right up there with other “ominous” indications that the culture is coming undone—e.g., the designated hitter rule in the American League, the failure of the Girl Scouts to bake their own cookies, the potholes on 23rd Street in Oklahoma City, etc.

          There is so much to worry about.

      • Michael Baumanu says


        It is up to us to remain faithful to the faith that has been handed to us. That is all that is required.

        Glory to God in all things.

      • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

        DAN! What is that word of yours “heresay?”

        Did you mean heresy or hearsay? It’s not clear at all.

      • Michael Bauman says

        dan, Pat. John did indeed speak those words. However, the rest of his address was all about the call to serve Jesus Christ in the Orthodox Church, to be subject to His will and act with His love.

        He is declaring, quite rightly, that we all serve the one God whether we realize it or not and the peace and uinity come first by Chrisitans submitting to His love and making peace with those around them so that we can work together in harmony. It is no more heretical than when we pray in the Divine Liturgy for the departed servants of God to distinguish them from the departed Orthodox servants of God.

        There is one other point which I will probably not communicate well. Pat. Leo, Pat, Ignatius and now Pat. John have made it a point of their ministry to declare that the fundamental faith of the land and of the Arab people is the Orthodox Christian faith. That we were there before the Muslims and that we will be there always. We are happy to share the land with everyone but it is under Christ and through His love that we do this. This is not sycretism or egalitarian ecumenism of the modern kind.

        There is simply no such perspective here in the U.S. or anywhere in the west. Here, we Orthodox exist on the surface we have no claim and no organic connection to the struggles of this land and her peoples. We can find a way to build that connection but we have yet to do that. Until we do that, we will be much more subject to the whims and storms of the world and more prone to be purists rather than truly Orthodox ‘mericans.

        The Russians and the Arabs have the faith in their souls in a way it will take generations of us to begin to approoach. The Greeks used to, but, I fear, they are loosing it.

        When the persecutions come as the apostasy of this age grows, we will see who is faithful to Christ and who is not. I guarantee that there will be surprises.

        Until then, we watch, guarding our own heart and repenting of our own sins. forgiving with out expectation and doing what we can to bear the burdens of others with peace of soul and firm conviction that all things work for good for those who love God.

        Read the whole address and suspend your judgement.

    • Ivan Vasiliev says

      Thank you, Ladder, for your pseudo-traditionalist response to the kindheartedness evinced in Abbot Tryphon’s report and in the responses of those above. We need to be slapped around and shaken back into the reality that nothing good and beautiful can happen outside our own wretched hovels!
      Perhaps it would be good to remind yourself, dear ladder, of the icon from which you take your name. Are you so sure that you have stepped off the top rung that you can judge a man who has started his arch-episcopacy in such a spirit of humility and who has already proven himself to be a man of such spirit in his work as a bishop elsewhere? And before you rant about the efficacy of the sacraments of the Church over which he presides, are you so sure of yourself that you would risk blaspheming the Holy Spirit should you be wrong?
      No one here is suggesting that the divisions between the Orthodox and the Roman Catholics have been suddenly overcome (though would to God they should be soon!). All anyone is saying is that God should be praised when a good and holy man is called to lead the great Church of Rome which we all pray will one day soon be restored to full unity with us and we with them. No one is suggesting any sort of surrender of anything. Just recognizing goodness, which can and does exist outside the domain of the Orthodox church as certainly as wickedness and darkness can and does exist within her walls (not in her essence dear Ladder, but most certainly within her precincts).

    • Reflection on Forgiveness and Love by Archbishop Seraphim of Bulgaria

      The scribes and Pharisees once condemned and reproached the Lord for eating and drinking with publicans and sinners. To this the Savior said: I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance (Matthew 9:13). From these words of Christ it is evident that the purpose of His coming into the world was our repentance. If repentance was the purpose of Jesus Christ’s coming into the world, then it is clear that we, too, ought to consider repentance the purpose of our entire lives and all our labors.

      This makes sense, for it is only through repentance that the Lord grants us the greatest heavenly treasure: the regenerating grace of the Holy Spirit, which we receive in the Mystery of Chrismation at Holy Baptism. This grace in us is the source of divine conduct. It helps us distinguish good from evil. It provides all knowledge necessary for the happiness of our temporal life and for the life of the future. This is why St. John the Theologian, referring to the grace of Chrismation received at Holy Baptism, said: But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things… and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things (1 John 2:20, 27).

      This grace is nothing other than the divine power that indeed helps us to renounce Satan and all his affairs – sins and passions – and to live according to God’s commandments, thereby receiving a foretaste even here of the future blessedness of Christ’s Heavenly Kingdom. This is why another great Apostle, Paul, called this grace the earnest (guarantee) or portion of the future inheritance, which is the ineffable eternal blessedness of Paradise (cf. 2 Corinthians 1:22; 5:5).

      Both repentance and grace are clearly two goods necessary for salvation, for without repentance one cannot receive the regenerating grace of Holy Baptism, which is why the Apostle Peter, in response to the question posed by the audience of his first missionary sermon – what shall we do? – said: Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). The extent to which we will repent is the extent to which the Holy Spirit’s wondrous actions of grace will be in us.

      Beloved, we all know how great the repentance of St. Mary of Egypt was. But consider just how much grace she had from God! When St. Zosima awaited Mary at the Jordan with the Holy Gifts in order to give her Communion, he wondered how she would come to him from the other side of the river. Then he saw how she, like Jesus Christ, walked on water as on dry land, thereby crossing the Jordan. When St. Zosima asked Mary to pray for the entire world, she was raised into the air as she offered fervent prayer to God. By this astonishing miracle the Lord demonstrated to St. Zosima that the prayer of this great and righteous woman for the preservation and salvation of the world was acceptable to God. The world did not know, and to this day still does not know, that it is preserved from ruin by the grace of a few great righteous ones.

      Thus did the Lord once preserve the world through the prayers of one of His holy ones: St. Mark of Trache. Thus did the Lord preserve the world from ruin by the prayers of two of His venerable ones: Macarius the Great and Macarius of Alexandria, for their struggle of repentance was so great; and great, too, was their grace.

      That wondrous God-pleaser, St. Seraphim, had no grave sins. He experienced only unavoidable mental warfare with unclean spirits. When he was once offered to become the superior of one of our foremost monasteries in Russia, with the elevation to the rank of archimandrite, St. Seraphim declined this altogether honorable appointment. Then a fierce struggle with thoughts of vainglory arose in him.

      What did this great chosen one of God do? For nothing but thoughts of vainglory he began to repent as for great and grievous sins. He stood on a rock and, with his hands uplifted to heaven, stood for three years praying the prayer of the publican: God, be merciful to me, a sinner! During this entire time he ate only herbs and drank only water. How astonishing was his repentance!

      But just as astonishing was how the grace in him was wondrously manifest. Like the Savior, he healed every imaginable illness in people by a single word. He also once prayed in the air for the healing of a hopelessly ill child. The sisters of the Diveyevo Convent saw how he walked in the air a yard above the ground as he went to his desert. His face shone with divine light after receiving Holy Communion and especially when he spoke about the grace of the Holy Spirit with Motovilov. St. Seraphim’s soul departed his body in this light, and angels bore it to the throne of the Holy Trinity.

      If, however, we do not truly love our neighbors, our repentance will not be acceptable to God; not only will the regenerating grace of the Holy Spirit not be kindled in us as it was manifest in the lives of Sts. Mary of Egypt and Seraphim of Sarov, but it will not act in us at all. Its light will be extinguished and we will not enter the heavenly chambers of Christ our Savior. The Lord revealed this truth in His parable of the ten virgins. The foolish virgins did not have oil in their lamps, that is, they did not have love; the light of grace, given them at Baptism, had gone out, for which reason they found themselves outside their Bridegroom’s heavenly chamber. The Lord showed us this truth again in His parable of the good king and the merciless lender.

      The Holy Church, as our loving mother, always cares for us. It is concerned that the Lord would not, as it were, reject our repentance. Therefore just before the beginning of Great Lent it addresses us during the Liturgy with the words of Jesus Christ: For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses (Matthew 6:14-15).

      Therefore let us strive to have our struggle of repentance – our fasting and prayer – not be deprived in God’s eyes of their beneficent fruits, that we may worthily partake of Christ’s Holy Mysteries and be united forever with Christ in His Heavenly Kingdom. For this to happen, may our repentance have as its constant companion our sincere love of our neighbors.

      We know, it is true, that the crucified good thief went to Paradise due to his one hour of repentance, although his entire earthly life was marked by cruelty to the point of murder. But the tradition of the Church indicates that a gang of robbers attacked the Holy Family during their flight to Egypt. The thieves wanted to kill the Holy Family, but the chieftain, struck by the unearthly beauty of the Christ-child, stopped them from committing this terrible crime. For this the Immaculate Mother said to him: “This Child will in time reward you for your mercy and love for Him.” It was this chieftain who was later to be the good thief. Moreover, even on the cross he showed compassion and love for Christ, for he rebuked the other thief for his spiteful words to the Divine Sufferer, which is why he said: Lord, remember me when thou comest into Thy kingdom, for which he heard these words from Christ: Today shalt thou be with Me in paradise (Luke 23:39-43).

      From the life of St. Taisia we also know that she, too, entered Paradise for her single hour of repentance. But the Church’s tradition again tells us that before entering her dissolute life she distributed all her enormous wealth to the poor and built a hospice for monks. She was distinguished by her wonderful beauty and, having become poor voluntarily, became a harlot due to her extreme living conditions. Because of her earlier manifestation of love for her neighbors, however, the merciful Lord did not allow Taisia to fall into perdition. He inspired one of His great saints, John the Dwarf, to go to Taisia to call her to repentance. Prompted by the Holy Spirit, St. John the Dwarf went to Taisia and aroused such a fiery determination in her soul to correct herself that she immediately left behind all the wealth acquired by fornication and everything else in the world and asked St. John to take her right away to one of the convents, where she would be able to atone for her grievous sins.

      St. John fulfilled her request by going with her from the city to the desert. Night found them travelling. He made a headrest out of sand and told her to get a little sleep, so they could continue their journey early the next morning. Retiring some distance from her, he also wanted to rest, but suddenly he saw how divine light lit up the entire sky, and in this light an angel bore Taisia’s soul to the throne of God. St. John approached her and found her already dead.

      This shows how great the salvific importance of profound repentance is. This shows how quickly the Lord sometimes takes souls for their determination to change their lives, making them worthy of His Heavenly Kingdom.

      You, my dear children, are flesh of flesh, bone of bone, and blood of blood of the Russian people. Therefore in your hearts, too, there is true and great love of neighbor. This love inspires you always and invariably to flock in great numbers to your Church on Forgiveness Sunday to participate in the Rite of Forgiveness, here asking forgiveness of one another and forgiving everyone that has offended you.

      May the Lord strengthen you in this Christian love and in your pursuit of mutual reconciliation! Do now what you have always done in the past on this day. Knowing that without love there is no repentance and therefore no grace, ask forgiveness of one another, and even of those who have offended you.

      Yet before you do this, I must do the same to you, as your archpastor. Therefore I ask you, for the sake of Christ, to forgive me all the sins I have committed against you in thought or feeling, willingly or unwillingly, in word or deed. On my part, I forgive you all for whatever sins you have committed against me and I call down upon you, my dear children beloved in Christ, the grace of God.


      about St. Seraphim of Bulgaria:

  8. Gregg Gerasimon says

    When stationed at Fort Lewis from 2002 through 2005, I took the Vashon Island Ferry over to Abbot Tryphon’s monastery a couple of times — highly recommended anytime you are in the Seattle-Tacoma-Olympia area!

    And to top it off, they have fantastic coffee:

  9. Archimandrite Gregory says

    I watched the pope’s audience with the media this morning, and was offended by the fact that the Pope did not give the Apostolic Trinitarian blessing and I quote him” so as not to offend the non believer’s conscience”. Is this part of the new evangelization? let us wait and see what really comes out from this Pontificate.

  10. Patrick Henry Reardon says

    Ladder concedes, “But, perhaps I’m wrong . . .”

    Aha, may we see a show of hands on this, please.

  11. Obama, The Benevolent Dictator says


    Until the Bishop of Rome repudiates the Filioque, Papal Infallibility, Papal Supremacy, Western liturgical innovations, the celibate priesthood and a host of other pontifications, he is a heretic.

    • The Filioque is no longer a barrier in itself. Rome has agreed to all theological points raised by the East as far as that one phrase is concerned. This issue will be resolved, probably while many of us are still alive.

      But the issue that is not resolved is the authority issue. Who has the authority to call a council, to recognize it as a council, or to make judgments about things like the Filioque? I’m not going to have this conversation by myself, but this is the issue. It was and is today primarily a different perspective on the authority of the Bishop of Rome.

      I will say this much: From my own third party perspective on this, both sides have made mistakes and both sides need to address those mistakes for reconciliation to ever be possibly. Even from a secular governance perspective, it was a mistake to raise up the Bishop of Constantinople as the Bishop of New Rome and equal to the Bishop of Old Rome … or however these things were worded at the time. Without identifying the Filioque or papal infallibility or anything of that sort, you know that choice is going to cause problems of the kinds history has witnessed. And then, many of the grudges that followed had nothing to do with theology, that much is clear to an outsider. Real soul searching is still necessary on both sides.

      While I am inclined to agree with the East that Rome has claimed too much power, the greatest errors on this came in opposition to the Protestant Reformation (Great Revolt), not in arguments with the East. But I am also inclined to agree with Rome that the East is headless and willful and dysfunctional without the bishop of Rome. It is simply not credible that the Church has not been able to call together its supreme governing body for 10 years now. Excuse me, 100 years! No wait, that’s not right either: 1,000 years!!! Be serious for just a moment. It is not as if there have not been critical unresolved issues in this time … or airplanes, or ships, or telephones, etc. I mean, my understanding is there is now a longstanding Schism between East and West. What does the supreme governing body of the East have to say about this?. And how about the situation in the US, the “Barbarian lands” according to your highest ranked bishop? Meet, pray, discuss, pray, and then vote, people, so we can all move on with life!!!. Most of this is not rocket science, we just need a decision, that’s all. You may argue that the East has preserved the faith unaltered in this time. Well congratulations, but how many lost souls have to die and meet their maker in the meantime? And frankly if your God is real, he could raise up a pile of stones to worship Him and teach the Truth. I don’t mean to denigrate everything done by the Church in the East throughout history. But it is very clear the East had a role in the Great Schism, that the East now shares responsibility for working to fix it, and that the East can hardly even put forward a credible conversation partner to do this work.

      Neither the priests nor the bishops need be celibate in the East or the West. That is not an issue of theology or even a point of disagreement between east and west. In fact there are some married priests under Rome at this time. Rome has declined to allow married bishops in part because the East is not doing that right now and Rome does not want to create another barrier to unity. But there is no dogma or doctrine against it. It is purely a matter of discipline and could be changed tomorrow.

      As for the liturgy, this is where you get into the kind of smoke and mirrors that I’m not even willing to discuss. But hopefully the East can get its head together enough to have more conversations with Rome, and hopefully the popes now and in the future will humble themselves and engage with the East in a manner that surpasses all expectations.

      • Ordo Antiquus says

        Orthodoxy may have administrative disunity; but it has a level of doctrinal unity and liturgical level-headedness that is the envy of Catholicism today. Your problems are largely jurisdictional and administrative in nature, not doctrinal, not liturgical. Even in the usual watered-down GOA parish I am likely to get better liturgy than in the typical “conservative” Catholic parish with females in the sanctuary and a liturgy that would have been anathema to Catholics only 60 years ago. The numbers of Traditional Latin Masses are, in this regard, misleading, because most “legal” Latin Masses take place in parishes that revert to a “low-church” style of liturgy for the rest of the Sunday not to mention the rest of the week.

        Catholicism has an impressive infrastructure because most of Catholicism had a calm existence for most of its existence, with persecutions rarely ever engulfing most or all of the Church at the same time. It has administrative unity. But where is the doctrinal unity? On paper it exists. In the seminaries, parishes, schools, religious Orders and among the bishops it has been perpetual theological and liturgical civil war since 1965. Try being a papalist conservative in a Jesuit university and you’ll see what I mean. Try celebrating Mass “ad orientem” in a typical parish and you’ll see what I mean. Try preaching AGAINST contraception in a typical Catholic college and university and you’ll see what I mean. Not long before Benedict resigned the Spanish and German hierarchies clashed over the morning-after pill, which the German bishops have now allowed for certain cases, to the great dismay of Catholic pro-lifers worldwide. I mean, that’s much worse than the petty rivalry between Jerusalem and Romania, which at least does not put any babies in danger of being killed!

        What is preferable, outward unity and inward disunity, or outward disunity but inward unity?

        What do you want, a Church that speaks and writes a lot about being counter-cultural but whose own discipline is so watered-down and weakened as to be not counter-cultural anymore, or a Church that may not speak as much but whose liturgy and fasting is without question counter-cultural?

        In American Orthodoxy homosexuality has become a hidden cancer and there is a developing feminist underground. But for those aware of Catholicism’s own far more severe problems with homosexual subcultures among its own clergy and academic feminism this is not exactly a point that should scare away potential Catholic converts to Orthodoxy.

        Take it from someone who is a lifelong Catholic, a lifelong servant of the Church, who is now looking East –and I don’t mean the Eastern Catholics.

        Pray for me.

        • Wait until you’ve been Orthodox for a decade and then get back with us. You might find that the view is not so clearcut after all.

        • Patrick Henry Reardon says

          Ordo Antiquus says, “In American Orthodoxy homosexuality has become a hidden cancer…”

          It may look “hidden” from the outside.

          • Ordo Antiquus says

            Yes, it may look hidden from the outside, just as the conflicts within Catholicism look hidden from the outside to Orthodox, especially those in the “old country” who still think that Catholicism is the disciplined and monolithic bloc that it was in the 1950’s.

  12. Paging 79th Street and all GOA Bishops! Please pick up the white courtesy phone in the lobby…….

    Pope Francis Shuns Apostolic Palace to Live In Simple Apartment In Community with other priests and Workers.

    Now compare this to the six figure lifestyle of our GOA hierarchs and other bishops who live high off the people’s work in America. I know of bishops who even own vacation homes in Arizona and Florida.

    When was the last time a GOA hierarch lived in community with his flock? Is it beneath the “dignity” of the office?

    What is scripture and tradition says that Orthodox hierarchs (who are monastics) should live such exalted and unreasonable lifestyles using money that was donated by simple working people?