Defining oneself in the negative

Defining oneself in the negative

A profile in Sunday’s Boston Globe starts off promisingly, describing Anthony Hughes, a priest of the Antiochian Orthodox Church who started off his life as a Southern Baptist and was once a student at the fundamentalist Oral Roberts University.

Unfortunately, rather than exploring the very interesting phenomenon in which so many Protestant ministers are leaving their denominations for the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches, it quickly devolves into an opportunity to bash Catholic doctrine. In fact, to read this piece, you’d get the impression that the flood is bypassing Rome altogether and going only to Constantinople.

Why does the columnist Sam Allis mention the remarkable fact that during Anthony’s three years at ORU three decades ago, about 30 other students studying for the ministry left for the Orthodox Church and then never explore why? What caused that flood? Was there a single point of influence or did they all come to that conclusion separately? We’ll never know.

But it’s the Catholic-bashing that catches your eye.

The Orthodox Church, sensibly, is not wed to celibacy. Its priests, unlike their Catholic brethren, can live normal lives and have families. [emphasis added]


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  • People should remember the highlight you gave to the words “sensibly” and “normal.” For these weren’t words drawn from a book, article, or interview being quoted by the writer. However, it is a perfect example of how a columnist or reporter uses his position as the “voice of God” to “spin” the story by making opinion appear as “fact.” The NY TIMES and their Boston Globe pet poodles are past (and current) masters of this art.

  • “Its priests, unlike their Catholic brethren, can live normal lives and have families. “

    One can imagine parts chopped out of the article:  “Orthodox bishops, monks and nuns, however, are like their Catholic counterparts:  unnatural creatures, sexually abnormal, malformed deviants who only come out of their caves on the night of February 29.”

  • A convert friend of mine remarked once, that when she converted she realized that ALL the Bible verses she had learned as a committed Evangelical were ones that could be used against poorly formed Catholics.  She said she hadn’t known until then how much Protestantism is still about being against Catholics and not for something else.

  • Hey, I found your blog linked from the Boston University page on . You picked out some pretty spun words in that article. A few questions for that reporter:

    Does “normal life” mean that they get divorced at a 50%/year rate like everyone else?

    Is there data to show that being “wedded” to celibacy (offensively bad pun on the part of the original writer) is not sensible?

    The man who bashes the pope in his quote – has this man ever had a pope in his life such that his newfound freedom from that dastardly authority figure has given meaning to his life? (Does he have any basis for comparison between life with and without a pope?)

  • What they don’t get is that having a pope frees us. What is more of a burden than having to make your own rules and be your own authority all the time? Think how many more “is this God’s will/is that God’s will” questions would take over our minds and our energy if we were without the guidance of the Church with ultimately one voice guiding us!