Some weeks ago, I wrote about an unsettling encounter I had with my priest. Time to report back that although we didn’t exactly “have it out” — that’s not Fr. Count’s style — he did note that ecumenical activity is “economia, pushed to its very limit.” So at least he’s aware that this isn’t something we should be leaping into without first taking a long, hard look.
I have problems with ecumenism on two levels. One is knowing the Protestant point of view on the subject, that “no one church possesses all the truth, but we possess the entire truth when we come together.” Since the Orthodox Church does possess all the truth, it makes no sense to get together with people whose idea of “worship” comes dangerously close to worshipping themselves, since they continually “create” God in their own image and likeness. Why would any Orthodox person want to go there?!
The second is on the Catholic level. Those who know me know that I tend to become a little irrational when the topic of Catholicism is introduced, and in case you didn’t know that, just look at my last post. I sincerely hope that what I wrote isn’t true, but in my experience, I stated my case mildly. Anyway, having been raised Catholic and educated in the Catholic-school system, I am very well aware of the goal of Catholic “ecumenism” — bringing everyone “home to Rome,” including — maybe even especially — the Orthodox. And having experienced what “home in Rome” is like, that is not anyplace I ever want to go again. I mean, what possible common ground can an Orthodox have with people who seriously posit the Theotokos as a “feminist”?!?! Or who agitate for female priests?! Not to mention the ubiquitous Peace & Justice campaign — I mean, when you see Peace & Justice statements on the walls of a nursing home, for crying out loud, I think the issue has gotten out of hand. (I call it PBJ — Peace, Brotherhood, & Justice. Makes it sound as silly as it is.)
So when I hear about Orthodox Christians participating in ecumenical activities with heterodox Christians, this is where I’m coming from. I don’t think Fr. Count quite realizes that yet, and I’m not sure I want to flip out completely on the subject — I do respect his office as a priest, and greatly appreciate the seriousness with which he approaches his calling. But at least, for the time being, he has defused a very volatile issue with his awareness of “economia — to the extreme.”
And extremism elicits extreme reactions.