I am not a daily reader of Rod Dreher. However, today I was directed by someone to read something he wrote about a Russian Orthodox reacting to what we Catholics are doing.
Let’s see. My emphases and comments.
Looking around for some information on an English-language Russian Orthodox site this weekend, I found this interview with a Russian who had converted to Catholicism as a young man in Russia — not an easy thing to do — because as a restless teenager, he became entranced by the history of medieval Europe, which, of course, is suffused with Catholicism. And, he loved the worship in the Catholic cathedral in Moscow, which moved him to convert away from his Orthodox baptism. He eventually went on a pilgrimage to the West, and was shocked to discover that the Catholicism he had fallen in love with had been largely discarded by the Second Vatican Council. [Surprised?] This Russian — now an Orthodox priest — said:
We should clearly understand the difference between the Catholic tradition before the Second Vatican Council and the neo-tradition that was formed after this council, for this important historic milestone drastically changed Catholicism. [Remember that Dreher abandoned the Church.]
The Russian goes on to talk about how experiencing the irreverent attitude of Western worship and piety while on pilgrimage broke his heart, and his devotion to Rome. [So… he was scandalized by what Catholics did and didn’t do.] He says:
The Catholic Church today is a church of triumphant renovationism, where many traditions have been abandoned and forgotten. [I really like this term: triumphant renovationism. Libs, progressivists, Jesuits, etc., blather about more traditional, faithful, Catholics being “triumphalistic”. Polish the candelabra and make them shine, use beautiful vestments and fire up the pipe organ and your are mired in the evils of triumphalism, which perpetuates the sclerotic institutional and patriarchal church and represses the spirit-filled church of the whatever, high atop the thing that only they can see. Ironically, they are exactly triumphalistic in their brutal imposition of re– … no … innovation.] Many things that were considered valuable for twenty centuries were declared simply unnecessary in in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. In particular, one of the monstrous spiritual disasters of Catholicism was the Second Vatican Council that radically reformed all Catholicism in a Protestant way. [This, from a guy who also abandoned the Church. But hearing the reasons why are sobering, or ought to be.]
Unfortunately, this, first of all, affected the piety of the believers. For example, it was quite normal for the Catholic pilgrims to leave their backpacks on the altar. I can’t imagine that happening in Orthodoxy. Our attitude toward the altar is so reverential, that even the priest wouldn’t dare to put his glasses or a prayer book on it. It is only for the things that should be there.
Naturally, I was very upset by this disregard for their own traditions and their antipathy toward the ancient things that I truly loved in Catholicism.
I always find it encouraging when Catholics — especially young Catholics — go on a recovery mission for the things that their fathers and grandfathers threw away. As Marco Sermarini, my dear Catholic friend in Italy, explains in The Benedict Option,
Does he ever lose a chance to mention The Benedict Option?