Caught Between

It’s funny because many years ago I was gung ho about blogging but the last few years I’ve either had a serious case of writers block or I just don’t feel like I’ve got much to say. All my life I’ve been told I’ve got a knack for writing but lately I’m just not feeling it, I’ve just run dry. There are plenty of things I sit around and ponder on a fairly deep level of engagement but it’s extremely hard to organize my thoughts in a coherent way and put them out there. At times I see others blogs and feel like compared to them I’ve got not much in the way of talent or organizational skills.  At any rate, I’ve been wanting to settle down and practice writing again even if it ends up incoherent and scatterbrained. Practice makes perfect right?

 

As anyone who knows me intimately would understand, I’ve been caught between Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy for a great many years. My heart has always leaned in an eastward direction, and for the most part my theological outlook, prayer life and praxis are almost entirely Orthodox even though I have never been formally recieved into Orthodoxy and even though I actually have a great love for much of the best the traditional Western Patrimony has or had to offer, things like the Benedictine Office, the Cistercian movement and its simplicity and theology, the beautiful blessings in the Rituale Romanum for sacramentals, Gregorian Chantand the specifically Western season of Advent– arguably the richest season in any rite of any Church.

I confess I have always struggled with the papal claims, and I’ve always felt off when trying to navigate the papal piety within Roman Catholicism. I’ve always found the claim the the pope was infallible or had primacy of jurisdiction over the lives of all Christians to be downright bizarre and very hard to swallow. I confess I also have found the Traditionalist narrative the most bizarre of all with its twisted and torturous legalisms, rationalizations, justifications and leaps of logic in trying to square the devastation on the Western Patrimony at the hands of the papacy with these strange dogmas, or the way some amongst them fully accept these strange dogmas yet think they can ” recognize and resist” this authority. I have no intention of slandering personally any of these trad types, but I cannot see eye to eye with them. All this stuff has been floating around my head for years, and finally I decided to start really testing these claims for myself by diving into the early church and the place of Peter within it, along with the so called Photian Councils and, most importantly, the Great Western Schism and the Council of Constance. All of my readings into these events and narratives have given me a very strong belief that I cannot in good faith remain a Roman Catholic.

I feel like I am finally poised to follow Hieromonk Gabriel Bunge into Orthodoxy. I’m not saying this as some wild eyes convert that just read Timothy Wares , The Orthodox Church or listened to a podcast on Ancient Faith Radio for the last few months and had this road to Damascus moment, it’s been years of agonizing study, prayer and doubting. Heck, the first time I attended the local Greek Divine Liturgy years ago I wasn’t overwhelmed like the legates of Prince Vladimir or awed by the beauty of it, I was a bit disappointed, as I missed Gregorian Chant and the stark and sterile solemnity of a Traditional Latin Mass. This has been a long journey where I wanted to make sure I was doing the right thing, making the right decision. Until next time…

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5 thoughts on “Caught Between

  1. John says:

    Good stuff! Most of what you say so resonates with me. Thank you for writing and sharing your thoughts on here. I look forward to reading more.

    I think I may have met you a few years back. I’m John in NJ. You can email me privately at jmc0927@gmail.com.

    • Thanks for your kind comment John. I’m glad what I say resonates. I can feel pretty alone at times when it comes to this stuff. Met me? Where would that have been. It’s possible.

  2. John says:

    JD,

    Lonesomeness is so part and parcel of a monastic calling, I think. I don’t know if you should be glad or sad that what you write resonates with me! Only kidding! 🙂

    So have you ever been on retreat or attended a conference in Mundelein outside Chicago?

    If I’m mistaken, please forgive me and pay this no mind. In any case, I will continue to look forward to reading your posts.

    John

  3. John says:

    Hey, no reason to be sorry at all! It’s cool. When I started reading your blog and saw your name “J.D.” it conjured up memories of someone I met once on retreat with similar name from Florida who was very much into Benedictine monastic spirituality (had actually tried his vocation in a Cistercian monastery once) and that’s all. I lost touch with the individual years ago and for a brief while there thought you might be him.

    Keep writing and I’ll keep reading though….:-)

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