Monday, August 20, 2007

Rockin' the House Down

In congratulating fellow blogger Andrew Sullivan on his same-sex wedding, Rod Dreher wrote the following on his blog:

Anyway, mazel tov, Andrew, and I hope your reception is at least as rockin' as Jenna Bush's will be.

At first, I wondered what he meant by "rockin'". Then I realized that Rod, being Russian Orthodox, may have been referring to this incident.

The Russian Orthodox Church has demolished a chapel where a priest conducted a marriage ceremony between two men.

The Chapel of the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God was apparently knocked down after local churchmen decided it had been defiled.

The "marriage" of Denis Gogolyev and Mikhail Morozev in Nizhny Novgorod scandalised the Orthodox Church and created outrage among ordinary Russians. The priest, Fr Vladimir Enert, was unfrocked after the men said they paid him a £300 bribe to ignore a ban on same-sex marriages.

A spokesman for the Orthodox Church said the chapel had to go as it had been desecrated.

So you get married in a little chapel and it literally brings the place down. That would be a story to tell your kids, if you were able to have kids.

Hat tip to CourageMan in this post. The link referring to the defrocking of the priest is broken, but that fact is worth noting also.

Just found it; here's the defrocking link. It's a darkly humorous narrative of simony and corruption. Reminds me of Dog Day Afternoon which is based on a true story. The Catholic Priest was mentioned in the film as having been defrocked as well. (I have to watch that flick again; that telephone conversation scene is priceless. And John Cazale, that guy who played Fredo in the Godfather? oh, man, is his character hilarious....)


  1. what if sullivan and his (cough) husband want to conceive using IVF? of course dreher, today's "champion o' orthodoxy" on beliefnet, would stick to his principles and refrain from wishing them a rockin' artificial insemination.

  2. Principles Kathleen? If there is one thing you should know about Dreher is that normal rules do not apply to him and Mr. Sullivan. That is a benefit of being part of the media elite.

  3. Subsequent events are doing nothing to make Jim Manney's decision to include a piece by Rod Dreher in Loyola Press's Best Catholic Writing 2007 any less appalling.

  4. Not to mention that darned if i can figure out what's so catholic about that piece -- so that it should be included in a tome called Best *Catholic* Writing. is this the point of it?: "Catholics! Look to the Amish for your understanding of Christianity!" Definitely a Dreherian point, but a catholic one? not so much.

  5. I'm really confused, not just because the piece was written in 2006 and is in a volume called "Best Catholic Writing 2007", but because Rod had left the Catholic church at the time he wrote that.

    I guess you can write something Catholic even if you aren't Catholic, at least that's what the Amazon page announces. Tom, you're a good writer; what's the over/under that you'll make the next book of Russian Orthodox essays?

  6. Um, wouldn't Manney need Rod's permission to include his essay?

  7. In an earlier post, Manney explains, "I included several Protestant and Orthodox writers because they write superbly with a sacramental, incarnational perspective that is properly called 'Catholic.'"

    That's his choice as an editor, of course. I don't have any problem at all saying that something written by a Protestant or Orthodox might have a strong Catholic sensibility, and ... well, let the buyer beware of a book of the "best" of any kind of writing of any year.

    But Rod isn't just non-Catholic, he's anti-Catholic. His ragings against the Church have caused scandal, and quite possibly contributed to the schism or heresy of others.

    I don't care how "powerful" that essay is, to hold him up as a model of Catholic perspective is irresponsible, of both Manney and of Loyola Press.

  8. "sacramental, incarnational" fiddlesticks. For Rod, apparently, heirloom tomatoes are "sacramental," but marriage isn't. If that's Catholic in any reecognizable sense, I'll eat my Missalette.


  9. BTW, no need to fret about all this. "What goes around comes around," as I learned from a former boss, a class-A jerk, whose company no longer exists. He was right: What went around, in his case, did come around. Sooner or later, those duped by Dreher will wise up to him. It always happens eventually. Just ask Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart. And all those Enron dudes. :)


  10. THe problem with your point, Tom, is that Dreher is so schizophrenic, unless Manney sees more of Dreher's oeuvre he can easily be fooled. Dreher is perfectly capable of writing something (that sounds) "sacramental" and "incarnational" since he knows what those are, he just doesn't accept their implications for himself and his own attitudes. Hence the spectacle of Dreher, in one post wishing his gay friend a "rockin' " gay wedding, and in the very next post bemoaning the optionality of orthodoxy.

    That is what makes Dreher such a snake. He fools himself 24-7, and thinks he can take everyone else along for the ride.

    As for Manney -- catholics should be smarter.

  11. THe problem with your point, Tom, is that Dreher is so schizophrenic, unless Manney sees more of Dreher's oeuvre he can easily be fooled.

    I can't believe Manney doesn't know the story of Dreher's schism at least well enough to have to ask himself whether it matters. And I simply cannot see how to reconcile a "no, it doesn't matter" with a book purporting to collect the best Catholic anything.

  12. Tom: You have a well-known blog. Do you think you could possibly blog about Rod Drher's anti-Catholcism--precisely in order to protect the sheep who may be led astray by him? Your voice would lend a lot of credibility to the charge...and I think it's a charge that needs to be made. Souls are at stake.

    At Mark Shea's (I think it was), a comboxer recently recounted how Dreher had convinced him that every other RC priest was a pedophile. This guy was so upset that he was on the brink of leaving the Church. Then his wife got a job at a nursing home for retired priests. The guy didn't want wifey to take the job...after all, she'd be dealing with Evil Incarnate, right? But she took it anyway. To her (and his) surprise, she discovered that the elderly priests at this home were among the saintliest, holiest people she'd ever met, devoted to prayer, extremely loving and kindly, etc. She felt blessed to be able to work with them.

    This showed the guy (her husband, the Shea comboxer) that Rod Dreher's portrait of the Catholic priesthood (and of Catholicism in general) was horribly warped and skewed.

    So, through his wife's experiences, this guy saw the light. But how many others do not? How many uncritical souls have fallen for Rod Dreher's relentlessly anti-Catholic message? How many have bought into his excessively dark, warped picture of the Catholic Church?

    When anyone at the Dreherrhea blog points out that this or that post is anti-Catholic, all Hades breaks loose. Amid Rod Dreher's own protestations that he doesn't have an anti-Catholic bone in his body, various and sundry useful idiots, anti-Catholic Orthodox, village atheists, and other Friends of Rod rise to his defense. Plus, of course, the posts of those few Catholics brave enough to level the anti-Catholic charge are instantly deleted (whereupon Rod aims a few choice insults at the feckless comboxers--talk about Mr. Christian Nice Guy).

    Meanwhile, the Amy Welborns and Mark Sheas keep enabling this guy, refusing to call a spade a spade. I do not see how this does any service to the Catholic online community, at all.

    Soooo....well, Tom, you have a bully pulpit, a very visible forum. May I implore you to post something there about Rod Dreher's anti-Catholicism? Be your usual fair and balanced self, choose your words carefully, stick to the facts and all that, without descending to Rod's level...but please, please, consider saying something. As I think the story of the guy with the wife at the priests' retirement home shows, souls really do depend on it.

    Thanks and God bless!!


  13. I have to agree with Tom, but I see Kathleen's point. Dreher is very snakelike.

    Here's another point. If you publish a book called "Best Essays with a Sacramental, Incarnational Perspective, 2007" then no one will buy it except a couple academics. All the tortured explanation of why there can be non-Catholic and anti-Catholic authors for a "Catholic" collection avoids the simple fact that the word Catholic in the title is there to generate sales to gullible Catholics.

    Yep. Wordsmiths.

    Playing with the word "catholic" is as old as the hills. The big problem for non-Catholics is that the word "catholic" is in the ancient creeds. So most Christians who have any appreciation for historical continuity want to be "catholic" in some sense. But eventually that means that if you're not going to be Roman Catholic then you have to make up your own meaning for the word.

    In this case, I would argue there has been a reduction. As important as the teachings about the incarnation are to the development of Catholic doctrine that is not all there is to the Faith. Furthermore, I'd argue that it's a Catholic point of view that the hierarchical authority structure of the church from the papacy on down is a logical consequence of the same church's teaching about the incarnation of Jesus Christ. Selectively ignoring this also seems to be a cottage industry as old as the seven hills of Rome.

  14. Furthermore, I'd argue that it's a Catholic point of view that the hierarchical authority structure of the church from the papacy on down is a logical consequence of the same church's teaching about the incarnation of Jesus Christ.

    Bingo, to use that well-worn Catholic term. :)

    The Catholic Church is the most fully Incarnational communion in all kinds of ways and for all kinds of reasons--but the hierarchical structure prescinding from the pope (visible earthly head) is one of the key ways. James Likoudis makes this point extremely well in his books responding to EO anti-Catholiccsm.

  15. Tom, I agree with Diane. If you feel that strongly about Dreher, you're kind of obligated to say something on your blog.

  16. dianek
    Dreher's comments as well as those from the other comboxers are proof that the Historian Richard Hofstader was right when he said "Anti-Catholicism is the pornography of the Puritans." As for Wellborn and Shea it would take crosses burning in front of their parishes before they acknowledge the existence of Anti-Catholicism.

  17. Soooo, Jonathan: NOBODY at the Dreherrhea Blog is taking him to task for spinning a piece on the OCA Scandal into another slam at the Catholic Church?? You have got to be kidding me! Ack!

    Tom, Tom: Kathleen and I both implore you to post re this outrage. Hey, if you can find time to do a take-off on Wodehouse, then you certainly can find time to fisk Dreherrhea. ;)

  18. I posted this on Dreher's blog. It will not be on long but I could not resist it.

    Leave it to Mr. Dreher to turn an article on abuses in the Orthodox Church into another excuse for Catholic bashing. It proves Richard Hofstader was right when he called Anti-Catholicism "The Pornography of the Puritan." Charles Chiniquy would be proud!

    Posted by: Jonathan Carpenter | August 23, 2007 8:05 PM

  19. Read the follow blog. He has another interesting take on Dreher.