This is MUCH longer than the usual “800 words”. I needed to give you full detail and that required much more space. I think that this’ll repay the time that you spend on it though. If these people aren’t Orthodox, and if they don’t wish to be Orthodox, what are they doing amongst us? Ponder that…
I’ve received much in my mailbox concerning the antics of this or that semi-converted (at best) ex-Anglican or “Evangelical” pretending to be an Orthodox priest. I must say that although my informants do NOT know one another and much distance separates them, they all tell the same story. These prelest-ridden semi-converts substitute their idiosyncratic notions for the solid teaching of the Church. Before we go into the mire (for we must), let’s look at what the Real Deal Church looks like.
The Real Deal Church is the Big Tent. It isn’t the Little Flock… it isn’t Gideon’s Band… it isn’t a bunch of wild-eyed martyrdom-seekers in sandals and togas. Above all, it isn’t a conventicle of self-satisfied prune-faced prigs with a laundry-list as long as they are describing every minor sin that’ll “automatically excommunicate” you. What drives the RCs nutters is that whenever they ask us, “What do you believe?” they get three different answers if they ask two Orthodox Christians. The Church is like the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz… “Some people go this way… some go that way…” We’re NOT lock-step conformists, despite what Reardon and Freeman say. Orthodoxy doesn’t so much give you answers as it gives you the right questions to find the right path that leads to the correct answers. What really discombobulates them is when we say, “They’re not entirely correct… but that doesn’t throw ‘em out of the Church”. The (official) RCs are looking for ONE SIMPLE AND LEGALISTIC ANSWER. I’ll clue you in on something… if you talk to a Sicilian Nana or a Québécois Grand-père, you’ll find that they agree with Yiayia and Papou, and with Baba and Dede… oh, do watch out for Oma’s cane, her aim is as dead-straight sure as any Baba’s (as Opa and Dede share a friendly brewskie together). What DO we believe? The fixed non-negotiables are in the Creed… that’s why we recite it at every liturgy; it’s what we MUST believe, after all. Trust me, if you were to talk to a canonist, they’d start rattling off all the exceptions to this-or-that rule. The Fathers are even dicier. You MUST believe what’s in the Creed… a lot of the rest is up for grabs.
The Real Deal Church is Forgiving. It doesn’t run an Inquisitorial investigation at every confession. The priest doesn’t go around snooping into his parishioner’s private lives. He doesn’t have the time to do either! In an average urban parish in the motherland, there are several thousand people at least, and poor Batiushka has all that he can do to keep up with baptisms, funerals, weddings, visitations of the sick, overseeing the church school, and looking after the material cares of the parish, not to mention the fact that the church building is open for services daily, not just on Sunday. He’s not a Patrick Henry Reardon or Lyonyo Kishkovsky with a miniscule congregation and plenty of time on his hands for ecclesial politicking. In the homelands, careerist priests tend to gravitate to diocesan slots, for if a priest is in charge of a parish, he has NO time left over for glad-handing and bum-kissing. In short, there’s no prying into the details of people’s private lives as you see amongst the konvertsy.
Now, that we’ve established that the Church is the Big Tent and that it’s Forgiveness, it’s time to nail down why the konvertsy aren’t Orthodox in their heart-of-hearts. Their worst error is their indifference towards Old Ritualists and the Unia, perhaps, the most serious of their errors. That is, from the top, they deny the Church, the Body of Christ, the objective embodiment of His People on earth. Everything else is minor in comparison (yes, it’s bad enough, and it’s nasty, to be sure, but MUCH less serious than the effectual denial of Christ and His Church). We see this in Freddie M-G’s Facing East. She talks as though her Uniate neighbour is the same as an Orthodox Christian. Uniates are many things, but gad sir, they ain’t Orthodox! They’re RCs with an Orthodox ritual, that’s all. They have to accept the Pope of Rome as the Infallible Head of the Church, attend to his “encyclicals”, and to every jot and tittle of the RC’s “Councils” (such as the ridiculous Vatican II). They’re not of us… and that’s that. It’s why we don’t give them communion. It has nothing to do with their personal faults (they’re no better or worse than we are)… it has nothing to do with this-or-that incident in the past. It has everything to do with the fact that Uniates are outside of the Body of Christ… and that ends the discussion. They aren’t part of any of the fourteen Local Churches… they’re tied to the Pope of Rome and his confession… for an Orthodox Christian that ends the palaver. Tell me who your bishop is… I’ll tell you if you can commune with us. It’s quite that simple.
Konvertsy fall into this error because they NEVER give up the Anglican heresy of the Branch Theory. Of course, many of the konvertsy are former Anglicans, and most of the other semi-converts ape them, as Anglicans are the Big Ju-Ju in American Religion. That is, sociologically-speaking, Anglicans take a “step down” in converting to Orthodoxy. Many of my Arab friends tell me that they hate “Angliochian” (Anglican convert in the AOCANA) priests. They tell me that these paladins continually look down their nose at them, are condescending, and lay impossible demands on believers (like or not, Orthodox do NOT tithe… it’s NOT part of the Tradition). Since they despise the groups into which they’ve converted, the konvertsy often form a distinct “set”. This coterie NEVER gives up its Anglican pretensions (especially the phonies who call themselves “Western Rite”). You can’t tell them that the Church condemns the Branch Theory… they’ll refuse to listen to you. It doesn’t matter to them that His Holiness himself wrote the Church’s condemnation (when he was a Metropolitan)… they don’t care what our real leaders teach. It’s against their fancies… they’re better educated than the rest of us, dontcha know, so it doesn’t matter what authoritative voices in the Church say.
Just look at it. Chad Hatfield accepted an honorary degree from his Anglican alma mater… I’ve never heard the like in my life! You usually can’t get converts to sit in the same room with those of their former confession, let alone to accept an honour from them. Fathausen gave a paper at a loony Uniate conference… it’s one thing to go and listen (innocent)… it’s quite another to actively participate in the proceedings (culpable). Reardon teaches at a Continuing Anglican Seminary (if he wants to hobnob with Anglicans so badly, why in the hell did he “convert?”). On top of all of this, the konvertsy are forever telling us how we’re mistaken about the Old Ritualists, and they tut at us at how we shouldn’t be so “judgemental” of them. Let’s keep this simple. The Old Ritualists left the Church. Full stop. They’re nothing but Proddies with a fancier liturgy. Prove to me that the Staro-obraztsy didn’t leave the Church… or please do shut up about it.
Now, let’s turn to some names that we all know. Everyone’s heard of some of the woollier sorts such as Michael Baumann, John Whiteford, George Washburn, Brian Mitchell, David Constantine Wright, Chad Hatfield, and Matthew Tate, but there IS a defining figure amongst them… Patrick Henry Reardon. I’ll concentrate on him, for his errors are indicative of all the rest. Although, one must say that he’s the prize package of ‘em all. Everybody in the Chicago area who’s written to me says the same things about him. Either there’s a fantastic conspiracy out in the Windy City (complete with black helicopters and Grassy Knolls) or a disparate set of people IS telling the truth. Nearly every account agreed word-for-word verbatim. Mr Reardon… don’t go after your present and former parishioners. I’m giving out the straight story as it was told to me by people who’ve seen you in action, but aren’t part of your parish. I’m saying this because all my informants tell me that you’re vindictive when crossed (it’s why most of them won’t have anything to do with your parish). I’M NOT AFRAID OF YOU; VERSTEHST DU MICH?
Let’s begin at the beginning. Everybody knows that Reardon was an Anglican, but how many know that he started out in the RCs? He was a Trappist monk… with Thomas Merton, of all people! I’m told that he’s still Catholic in practise, he uses Latin in his private prayers behind the altar, and he pushes the RC line on birth control. In his eyes, the only usable method is Natural Family Planning. Hey, Pat, the Real Church says that there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with condoms… if it’s a choice between you or the Church, the Church wins (every time). Pope Pat I wasn’t ordained in the OCA because he’d been ordained a priest as a Catholic monk, and he married after he’d became an Anglican. At that time, the OCA refused to ordain him because he married after his RC ordination. If Pope Pat were to try this gag today, he’d be ordained, because Matthew Tate’s a twice-married man… Fathausen would embrace him! An MP priest that I asked said simply, “All marriages count, if you have a civil marriage, you’re married”. That tells you much about Mr Reardon (and about Fathausen, too)… how do you spell D-I-S-R-E-G-A-R-D? That’s to say, no reputable bishop in the motherland would ordain such a man, and quite rightly.
Pope Pat is one of those priests who pressures people to have children… the more children, the better. It didn’t matter if the family couldn’t afford to raise the kids that they had… they had to have more kids! On top of that, he pushes “home schooling” as the end-all and be-all solution to the education of our children. He constantly rants about ALL public schools being Satan’s establishments, and private Christian schools aren’t much better in his eyes. On top of that, he attacks all women who don’t fit the stereotypical 1950s housewife pattern. He didn’t care if it meant that the family had to suffer… the wife CAN’T work. By his actions, Reardon makes it clear that any woman who didn’t fit his preconceptions is going to Hell. The good word out there is that Pope Pat decided who was going to head the sisterhood. The women had no say so in the matter at all themselves. If that isn’t enough, he likes to change things without informing anyone, and you’d best not question him. Pat will just wilfully take away responsibilities from parishioners without giving any reason at all. Several sources told me, “The Church gives and the Church takes away. Deal with it”. All of my sources used the exact same words… all of them. In other words, “The Church is Pope Pat I… Pope Pat I is the Church”.
Reardon doesn’t tolerate ANYONE who thinks differently from him. He’d embarrass them publicly if he thought that their opinion differed from his (even on political questions). If you ask him a question about his views, he’ll shut you up. Reardon preaches the GOP Gospel (but without mentioning them by name in church). According to Pope Pat, if you vote for a pro-abortion candidate, you’re going to Hell. It doesn’t matter what their stance is on other issues… he’ll attack you for supporting them. Outside of service hours, Reardon’s a reliable shill for the extreme rightwing of the Republican Party. All of my sources agree; Reardon revels in publicly humiliating people. He wants to have his hand in everything in a parishioner’s life. Friendships outside the parish were subtly discouraged, even with other Orthodox. What’s worse, I’m told (including by clergy) that he thought nothing of publicly disparaging other Orthodox parishes and clergy in the area; what’s more, it’s a regular thing on his part. The good word out in that part of the world is that he’s a “sheep stealer”, trying to get people from other parishes to switch to his if they visited his parish (Pat… you knew that the people who resisted you WOULD talk about it, didn’t you?).
To sum up, Reardon’s a typical semi-converted konvertsy “priest”. How can a thrice-ordained man be a TRUE Orthodox priest? Feodosy Lazor may have been a poofter, but he refused to ordain Reardon, and he refused to ordain Gillquist’s bunch. I’m told that the Centre put the kibosh on both of ‘em. Is Reardon a Catholic, or an Anglican, or is he Orthodox? I can’t speak for the first two named, but he certainly isn’t Orthodox in heart and soul! Reflect on this… Pope Pat’s not alone… Fathausen thinks JUST LIKE HIM. Monomakhos.com thinks just like him… Dreher, Mattingly, and Freddie M-G think just like him. In fact, all the konvertsy think alike. Isn’t that SCARY?
If we want to preserve the CHURCH… we’ll have to give these sorts the heave-ho. Will we? It’s up to you…
Monday 14 November 2014