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SML: Sister Vassa's Christmas Special

Discussion in 'The Ancient Way - Eastern Orthodox' started by Nick Moser, Dec 25, 2019.

  1. Jesus4Madrid

    Jesus4Madrid Orthodox Christian

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    I like Sister Vassa a lot.

    Has she stepped over the line a few times? Yes, as I recall, I think with her ruminations on the male priesthood and on her poor advice to a listener regarding homosexuality.

    That said, she submits fully to the teachings of the Church and is not lobbying to change her teachings. So I tolerate her occasional forays away from mainstream Orthodoxy. And, as many of you know, I have little time for anybody who is Orthodox in name only.

    Who of us, if speaking several hours per week on a microphone that records everything, would not utter something slightly heretical occasionally? There but for the grace of God go I.

    She reaches many heterodox seekers with the good news of Orthodoxy. She deserves kudos.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2019
  2. ~Anastasia~

    ~Anastasia~ † Handmaid of God † Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    Lord have mercy - I have trouble explaining lines from the Creed every week to my 2nd-4th grade students without uttering a heresy. I have to stop myself and explain that what I just said isn't completely right either, because it could make us think xyz, which is wrong. There are no words really, except the ones we have been given, which can be hard for children to fully comprehend. (I'm still in the section about Jesus.)

    I don't go out of my way to listen to Sr. Vassa anymore. I used to. But I simply have too many teachers I don't have time to listen to all I want to hear, and she did slip down my list when she made some mistakes perhaps. My criteria for recommending to inquirers or newly Orthodox is likewise that I don't have to warn them of any errors, so she wouldn't be among those either. But some are sensitive and I wouldn't recommend Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick to them in particular, and similarly may not mention other certain ones to certain people.

    As for me, I don't compare myself to any of them or judge any of them. At least I hope I never do. Lord have mercy.
     
  3. Jesus4Madrid

    Jesus4Madrid Orthodox Christian

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    Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick isn’t good for seekers? I love him. The Areopagus is great.

    I would highly recommend Orthodoxy Live on AFR by Father Evan.
     
  4. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    I think it depends on who the inquirer is that should determine what resources to give.
     
  5. TheLostCoin

    TheLostCoin A Lonesome Coin Supporter

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    I have a similar fear, but for other reasons. I am horrified how, in the Catholic Church, the faithful - Priests and laity - have fundamentally transformed the cult of the Saints; people only want media personalities canonized now, rather than actual Saints or relatable individuals like you and me; and people want them canonized as quickly as possible, without any research or hesitation into their lives that may reveal some grimmer details, because their media presence is sufficient per se for their Sainthood.

    Gone is the day where people like St. Aloysius were canonized, a Roman Catholic Saint, a rich young man who gave up all his possessions to enter into religious life, and died caring for Italians who were suffering from a nasty plague - now is the day where people want Mother Teresa's, Mother Angelica's, Fulton Sheen's canonized. Media personalities.

    Catholics are banging their fist against a table to get Fulton Sheen canonized, just because he held a television program and taught orthodox things during that television program, as well as providing foundational education in classical Christian education like logic, grammar, philosophy, etc.

    However, the Diocese of New York and the Vatican have been very hesitant and wanting to delay the canonization; some think that it's an outward maliciousness to orthodoxy. Maybe it is, but if you look into his life passed the media personality figure, you'll find that he had tons of failures as a Bishop and there are allegations of complicity with sexual abuse. He allegedly called a woman a whore after he caught a priest sexually assaulting her.

    Did Fulton Sheen witness and cover up the sexual assault of a child?

    That's not to mention he became pretty Liberal in his later life; one just has to watch him on William Buckley's show. He said that the Catholic Church was nothing more than a kingdom stuck in a high tower closed off to the world, and that needed to change with an opening up via Vatican II, and almost suggests that the Church was wrong with the practice of excommunication.



    Yet organizations like Church Militant will continue to pump out that the Vatican and New York Diocese is Satan incarnate for refusing to canonize Fulton Sheen, part of this systemic conspiracy to legitimize same-sex marriage. How dare they investigate these allegations and these problems?!



    It's not completely gone per se - John Henry Newman's canonization is evidence of that. But as soon as famous historical figures run out, I think that the only way forward for Catholics will be, unfortunately, media personalities.

    Orthodoxy still has an authentic cult of the Saints, and it would be horrendous if the same process happened to it. Saint Paisios certainly was not popular because of his popularity in the media.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2019
  6. ~Anastasia~

    ~Anastasia~ † Handmaid of God † Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    Forgive me. I didn't mean that Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick wasn't good for inquirers. I meant that he's a bit polemical and some persons might feel attacked by hearing what he says about some wrong teachings, and those people are better given different resources.

    I think Fr. Evan Armatas on Orthodoxy Live is probably across the board the best resource for inquirers, since he explains the basis of almost every question AND the Church's reasons for answering as she does. And does it in an always careful and kind manner.

    I've gotten to where I want more depth on some matters (and may even slightly disagree at some times - such as I think he's a little more open to exploring relationships even with non believers for Orthodox seeking to marry), but I still listen to every podcast of Orthodoxy Live and would not hesitate to recommend him to anyone. (ETA and to be fair, he sometimes goes a bit deeper, and sometimes gives information that can be understood more deeply when listening again later.)
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2019
  7. Lukaris

    Lukaris Orthodox Christian Supporter

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    • Informative Informative x 1
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  8. rusmeister

    rusmeister A Russified American Orthodox Chestertonian

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    I’ll believe the claim about “submitting fully to the teachings of the Church” when she comes out and says, “I was wrong, and affirm the Church’s teaching”. The same goes for all of us. If ANY of us utter something slightly heretical, it should not be indulgently tolerated, but corrected. If I say anything that contradicts clear and established teaching of the Church, I’ll thank you to correct me. It is divisive for ANYONE to challenge our teachings and not repent of it.
     
  9. ~Anastasia~

    ~Anastasia~ † Handmaid of God † Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    I would agree ... I'd hope someone would correct me if I made a mistake. I try to remember to ask sometimes, but I hope everyone considers that invitation always stands. :)
     
  10. gzt

    gzt The age of the Earth is 4.54 ± 0.07 billion years

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    While I think it's relevant if somebody is asking for recommendations to bring up these qualms (so too with other authors), it's tedious and irrelevant to trot out every time the author is mentioned.
     
  11. gzt

    gzt The age of the Earth is 4.54 ± 0.07 billion years

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    This whole debate in the Catholic-sphere is weird to me for most of the reasons you stated, but it's also... a Catholic debate, so what is its relevance here?
     
  12. gzt

    gzt The age of the Earth is 4.54 ± 0.07 billion years

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    Though if we do go down that road, people were somewhat scandalized when St Seraphim of Sarov was canonized after only ~75 years (there were other things going on as well, there's a good paper about his canonization if you're interested), I think there's little reason to do canonizations in a shorter time frame than that.
     
  13. ~Anastasia~

    ~Anastasia~ † Handmaid of God † Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    It may be a bit tedious but whether or not it may be relevant to a new lurker/inquirer/catechumen we may never know. :)

    But in the first I didn't bother to add my own point since a single post is sufficient. I basically got drawn in as a bit of defense, mentioning how easy it is to slip into heresy when explaining things to someone (the Creed in my case).
     
  14. TheLostCoin

    TheLostCoin A Lonesome Coin Supporter

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    Because the point of my Catholic post isn't about the state of the Catholic Church - it's an analogous situation to what Orthodoxy might become, as the Catholic Church and Orthodox Church are analogous in these respects: The Catholic Church has a cult of the Saints, and wanting to spread, it went down a road of creating a media empire to promote itself, which has led to disfigurement to what the process of Canonization ought to be.

    The Orthodox Church also wants to spread, and there is debate about creating a media empire. It also has a cult of the Saints.

    And the whole toxicity about Fulton Sheen's canonization is an example of how the Canonization process has been disfigured in Rome; it's no longer about the person's internal disposition and their personal holiness; it's about whether they appeared on TV a lot and showed off they were Catholic.

    I fear the same may happen with Orthodoxy as it keeps growing and people want a media presence.

    As I'm obviously Catholic in my upbringing, I necessarily have Catholic experiences to compare to.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2019
  15. Jesus4Madrid

    Jesus4Madrid Orthodox Christian

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    Have you ever said anything that was understood by someone else to be against Church teaching?

    Was your first response to be “I was wrong”?

    Or rather, did you try to explain what you meant and why the other person misunderstood you?

    Sister Vassa has said “I affirm Church teaching” or something similar on numerous occasions, as her listeners will aver.

    She has also brought many heterodox people into the Church.

    Where she has been unwise in her advice, I have been quick to correct her publicly and privately.

    Again, unless one is confident that he would be 100% Orthodox in all his utterances with a microphone recording everything he says for various hours every week, he should be loath to judge others.
     
  16. Jesus4Madrid

    Jesus4Madrid Orthodox Christian

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    I agree with you on Father Evan regarding dating non believers. I think he seemed a bit too open to that, though he did seem to be giving pastoral advice, so maybe he doesn’t intend that to be a general rule.
     
  17. TheLostCoin

    TheLostCoin A Lonesome Coin Supporter

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    For what it's worth,
    Almost every heretic said that they affirmed Church teaching. That was the entire point of the heretics spreading their beliefs and the Church having to condemn their heresy; the heretics wanted their own innovative and contrary theological views to be legitimized, to be "Orthodoxy," and the Church had to say that "this is not what the Church believes in." Some, even after being forced to sign a statement of Faith, immediately returned to their heresy believing they did nothing wrong.

    The problem is that what constitutes "Church teaching" to them is their own heresy. So of course they believe in "Church teaching" and have no problems with it.

    For those who immediately returned to their heresy after being forced to condemn it,

    Arius is a notable example; after being condemned by tons of councils, even some he was present at and was forced to sign an agreement, he just kept on going in his belief in Arianism and promoting it to his grave. After his condemnation at Nicaea, that didn't deter him in the slightest and afterwards, he created easily one of the worst crises in the history of Christianity, where it was incredibly hard to find an Orthodox bishop, especially in the East.

    Another example is Eutyches, who was not only condemned by St. Flavian, but at the 'Robber Council' of Ephesus II, denied any of the Apollinarian / Monophysite charges against him, but then immediately after went on preaching Apollinarianism / Eutychianism, such that even the Oriental Orthodox anathematized him at their own subsequent councils.


    The only exceptions to this motive were some of the cults in the early history of the Church, like the Gnostics and the Adamites, who were against the idea of the organized Church and believed their religions to be purer than organized religion; and then the Protestants and other future sects, who believed likewise.
     
  18. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    how do you know that Sheen's canonization process isn't based on his internal disposition? and even if folks want him simply because he was on TV, that says nothing about how saintly he was or wasn't. it simply says he might have some shallow supporters, which says nothing either way about his holiness.
     
  19. dzheremi

    dzheremi Coptic Orthodox non-Egyptian

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    Interesting video. Thank you for posting it, Nick.

    I wonder how she would address Christ's command that we "become as little children" (in Matthew 18) in light of her point on infantilization. (I don't see a conflict there myself, but it seems plenty of people do.)
     
  20. ~Anastasia~

    ~Anastasia~ † Handmaid of God † Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    Yeah that's why I wasn't overly worried either. He might just not have qualified carefully either. In the early stages I agree it's ok to be open. Just if the other person turns out to be set against God, it's certainly wise not to marry them.
     
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