American Views Abroad

Thursday, April 07, 2005
This site has gotten a tremendous amount of traffic these last few days. Fred and I were wondering why. Was there something so radical in our support of Blake Lemoine? Well I hadn't realized - and it is entirely my oversight at not reading every single line in his Easter message - that he signed it Priest of the Cabal of Free Thought. To tell the truth I haven't got an inkling what this is supposed to be. As someone brought up as a Greek Catholic of the Slavic Byzantine Rite United with Rome and a product of a Roman Catholic education, I have always straddled between two worlds. I can still remember the fights between various Roman Catholic nuns of my grade school and my mother over the fact of whether or not I had to be baptized again. In the end I didn't, but it left scars. It has taken me years to grasp what Greek Catholic is. As a matter of fact, yesterday's IHT ( had a most interesting op-ed piece Bringing East and West Closer by Jaroslav Pelikan which I read with great interest. He writes (about John Paul's legacy I):

'The least progress toward reconciliation has occurred in relations with the Orthodox Church of Russia. The end of Communist rule has brought with it a rebirth of the rivalry and mutual recrimination that have been tearing Slavic Europe apart ever since its conversion to Christianity more than a millennium ago by St. Cyril and St. Methodius of Thessalonica. The Venerable Bede gave the Gospel credit for unifying the peoples of Britain, but we Slavs are the only people to have been divided by the Gospel: whether to follow Cyril and Methodius in their affiliation with Constantinople (and therefore a Slavonic liturgy and autonomous national churches), or to follow them in their appeal to the authority of the bishop of Rome (and therefore a Latin liturgy and the centralized authority of the papacy).... The most ambitious attempt to heal that schism came in 1596, with the Union of Brest, in which several dioceses of the Church of the Ukraine accepted the authority of the papacy while retaining their own liturgy and canon law. But the adherents of this union (disparagingly named 'Uniats') have also been a major source of hostility between East and West.'

Just take a look at some of the words used to describe a tension going on for over a thousand years about religion----rivalry, mutual recrimination, tearing apart, divided, hostility. It's no wonder I feel very strongly that religion should be a deeply private matter and there should be a separation of church and state. It's a thin line and it takes a lot of balance to walk it. As I stated at the beginning of this post, I haven't a clue what Cabal of Free Thought is or means nor can I emotionally connect to the use of word Priest in this case. However, anyone, including Blake Lemoine, who has moral secular arguments for not wanting to go back to Iraq or fight a pre-emptive war, has my support

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