I had, in an earlier post, given notice of a new blog, Cathedra Unitatis, by one Eastern Orthodox converting (or, as he himself puts it, “translating”) to the Roman Catholic Church. The blogger has attracted some notice, mainly by being linked on a couple of high-volume traffic Catholic blogs. As can be expected, the Roman Catholics are encouraging and supportive, some of the Orthodox, less than encouraging. I deeply regret to say that the infamous Roman Catholic Mistress of the Inquisition and Papel Legate for Ortho-trashing, Diane, has come to add her “smarm-castic” negativity, non sequitors, and digressions to the discussion.
Among the Orthodox critics of Cathedra Unitatis’ blog-searching, for example, The Ochlophobist takes some exception to the genuineness of CU’s search, though the Ochlophobist has some other concerns as well, and is not necessarily decrying CU’s search as inherently false.
Even my friend and erstwhile fellow-parishioner, Gabe, has some comments (scroll down to time marker 4:59 pm 17 Jan) relative to the seemliness of such open spiritual searching.
CU, has, of course, responded with Some clarifications.
The one thing I happen to note in this is my general agreement with Gabe’s cautions, and the ring of truth I sense in Ochlo’s suspicions. Why? Not because I necessarily mistrust CU, or have been given reason to think he plays false, but, as an Orthodox wannabe myself, I know my own heart. I know what it’s like to have an otherwise sincere and heartfelt search suffer the temptation to play to the crowd, especially as there is a large crowd of Roman Catholics quite willing and ready to affirm most all of CU’s reservations and anxieties about Orthodoxy, and to burnish the image of Rome to the point of prelest. In my own journey to Orthodoxy, I know that I could put up any number of Ortho-affirming, Protestant-bashing posts, and receive numerous Ortho-visitor comments affirming me in all my self-affirmed glory.
And it would be a most pernicious and soul-endangering thing, too.
It appears that CU has turned off the comboxes to his posts, or at least to some of them. God knows I have no standing to offer advice to CU, but being the deeply sinful and self-absorbed person I am, I will offer some anyway. He links to me, and there’s a chance he might have a look-see at this post.
I would highly recommend he turn off all comments, if not to refrain from blogging altogether. This is painful to do, I know. It is something with which I have wrestled. One blogs because one wants to enlarge and diversify the thoughtful interactions, questions and comments, as one considers and struggles with various issues–in this case, conversion from Orthodoxy to Rome. I have no doubt that this is what CU wants.
But unfortunately, Gabe’s caution regarding the “pornography” of online journals is valid. It is, frankly, exciting and, yes, “addicting” to bare one’s inner self to an anonymous online world. And precisely when one receives numerous “Again! Lovely! More, baby, more!” in the comboxes, it makes it that much more tantalizing to bare more and more. First a little burlesque. Then a little shoulder. Soon a little toplessness, followed by full frontal sharing. By turning off the comboxes, CU will reduce the temptation to engage in rhetorical striptease. If he doesn’t link his email to his blog, so much the better. He can write his thoughts, which often helps with clarity, and then get about the business of saving his soul.
I say this as one guilty of spending an awful lot of time, blogging my journey (as can be seen in my archives). But as another erstwhile fellow parishioner, and self-styled “old dog” shared with me on more than one occasion, soul-baring in public is soul-endangering. That was more than a year ago for me. I have been much much more circumspect since then. And it has been wise so to do.
The CU blogger will do what he wants and thinks best. I certainly wish him the fullest of blessings in his struggles. Of course I wish him a renewed affirmation and life in his Orthodoxy, and a greater unwillingness to seek greener pastures in Rome, however he may attempt theological justifications for seeking such greenery. But if he does make the transition to Rome, as he already seems determined to do, despite public protestations to the contrary, I wish him the fullest of honesty and sincerity in so doing.
It would be a poor consolation to go to Rome for theological justifications not built upon rigorous, even acerbic, honesty and integrity.