Saturday, November 6, 2010

I Can't Believe the Hostility

Elijah passing his mantel to Elisha
Wow!  What a beautiful church we visited today.  A beautiful example of Byzantine architecture and art.  Boy, what anti-Catholic hostility we encountered.  We went to a Antiochian (Lebanese) Orthodox Christian Church (yep, that was in the name) today.  I will not mention the name of the parish out of my deep respect and love for our sister--the Orthodox Churches.  But, wow, is the respect and love so far from mutual.   Frankly, why all the open hostility for Catholics and our Faith?  Was it necessary to present us a rewritten, pointedly anti-Catholic, pamphlet on the "history of Christianity" when we entered the 'chapel' for the tour of the Church?  A false picture of how the Catholic Church split away from the "true church" as the pope asserted his "power"?  Was it necessary to point out that they are not Catholic?  Many times?  Was it necessary to falsely claim that the Church 'made up' the name Catholic after "they split from' the Orthodox, who, according to our bigoted tour guide, had to then 'find a name for itself' to distinguish them selves from the newly named Catholic Church?  Was it necessary to laugh at someones question about whether or not Orthodox believed in the Immaculate Conception? 

Theotokos--Mother of God

I was looking forward to a nice tour of a beautiful Church.  I couldn't keep my mouth shut any longer.  I was fuming.  But I wanted to be respectful and polite in the house of God despite not receiving respect in kind.  The 'tour guide' was deliberately, knowingly, and pointedly making sure he pointed out not only the differences in our churches but also how the Catholic Church was wrong.  I'm sorry BUT YOU'RE WRONG!!!  I used the excuse that my 5 yo needed the bathroom to leave the group as it went into the sanctuary.  If you have nothing good to say, say nothing at all, right?

It makes me wonder why the Catholic Church is trying so hard to reach out to our brothers and sisters in Christ for unity, only to be spat in the face with such open contempt.  Why do so many of the lay Orthodox feel that Catholics reaching out to them for unity against Satan and all his army is a sign of weakness in Catholics?  Why do they embrace all other religions in the area, call them fellow Christians, but scorn their sister Church?  I just do not understand.  On the one hand they're all 'let's preach love and peace,' but on the other hand spew hatred and bigotry at other Christians?  Really?  That is what Orthodoxy is?  I sure hope not.  Because bigotry and hatred for fellow Christians is not how you persuade your (supposed) foe that you are right, and you're hostility is not going to win converts.  Word to the wise:  Converts to are not attracted to a church that preaches the love of Christ but spews hatred toward their fellow Christians.  It only fuels the flames of the ant-Christian (of any 'flavor' including Orthodox) faction.   I pray that this 'tour guide' was not typical of the attitude of the patriarchy of the several branches of the Orthodox Church--or at least not all of them, as they are NOT in union as (also) falsely claimed by our 'tour guide.' 

It left a very bitter aftertaste in the mouth.  I pray for the restoration of my respect and love for the other "lung of the Church" as Pope Blessed John Paul II called our Orthodox sister churches.  BTW, I still love seeing the art and architecture of the building but I will have a hard time removing the memory of that bitter, bigoted, awful visit to that wonderful house of God.  I will continue to pray the Rosary for the unity Christ so desired for His Church.  If that makes me weak, so be it. 

1 comment:

kkollwitz said...

"why the Catholic Church is trying so hard to reach out to our brothers and sisters"

If she didn't, she wouldn't be the Bride of Christ.

Nice pic of Elijah and Elisha; I was just covering them in this week's catechism class.