Mountains out of Molehills, a Demon’s Delight

Gothmog sez: "Keep making mountains out of molehills!"

Gothmog here. Lord of the Balrogs, Flame of Udun, etc.

Couldn’t help but read (with scarcely concealed glee) the hundreds of comments on the posts about Eastern Orthodoxy. Most of all I was delighted in remembering how skillfully my Master had driven a wedge and fueled the fires that led to the delicious division from the Enemy’s Church.

I’m gonna show my cards to you to see how genius we are in the Underworld. How we used molehills to cause the greatest schism in history:

1. Azymes

Yeast! “Hey, why not divide them over whether to use leavened or unleavened bread or not?” And voila, yeast becomes something that Catholics and Orthodox will fall on their swords over. *Smiles*

So silly, such a coup. I actually disbelieved that Demon Cadre 5 could pull this off, but they did.

2. Filioque

Hahahahaha! I just laugh every time I hear this phrase. Few things incite us more than the recitation of the Creed (which we call the Screed), so why not instigate a division over a tiny phrase inserted into it in the West? This was actually my idea and I got a big demotion (which you would think of as a promotion) over it.

Curses forever to Pope Benedict for reaching out to the Orthodox and omitting the Filioque. Fortunately even this effort was coolly received and even spurned in some Orthodox quarters. “Let no good deed go unpunished,” one of our more cleverly hellish aphorisms.

Fact is, the Catholics and Orthodox both came to agreement on how this could be understood, but we dispatched a legion of demons to break up this accord and they found success quickly. Disunity achieved again!

3. The Pope

Barf! I think of him and get sick to my stomach. But beautifully, the Enemy made him the chief, and that gave us an opening, for no human likes accepting an authority–non serviam and all that. We focused on him like a laser, stirred up rebellion, tried to get the worst possible men in this position, and sometimes succeeded!

Nothing offended the erudite and contemplative Eastern mind more than a loutish oaf sitting on St. Peter’s Chair. How could this man be preeminent? In the backwaters of the old capital of the Empire? The cultural divide grew, and our work became easy. A little push here, a nudge there, and boom! mutual excommunications laid down in 1054 AD. The ensuing centuries required little attention on this front, as the divide had been secured.

Final Thoughts

So now, nothing makes us happier than seeing you argue to death over yeast in the bread and little phrases that you once agreed on. The more you entrench yourself the better. Devin is foolish enough to think that you can come to unity, can see each other with “respect” and “appreciation.” Gag. He wishes. We know humanity better than he does. Feel free to prove me wrong–I double-dog dare you.

Mountains out of molehills. A devil’s delight!

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43 thoughts on “Mountains out of Molehills, a Demon’s Delight”

  1. Wow, You must have had an extra cup of Mystic Monk Coffee today! 😉

    Youv’e baited the hook. Let’s see what kind of fishes you catch (an homage to St. Andrew the fisherman, whose Feast Fay it is [both East AND West]).

    Pax,

    PS, Shagrat and Gorebag say hi …

    1. Peter and Devin’s blog denizens,

      Gothmog is displeased with the lack of comments thus far. He was expecting a powerful backlash that would prove his point, and that has not happened. He attributes it to laziness rather than charity. And yes, I speak of myself in the third demon.

  2. One or two on another religious discussion website with an “eastern” orientation are already twitching over your post, dear Gothmog ;-).

    JM

    1. Hmmm, I doubt they would accept my registration, but I see that Devin’s has gone through finally and he has posted a disgustingly irenic comment over there. I will look into infiltrating this OrthodoxChristianity.net forum and polluting it with polemics.

    2. “One or two on another religious discussion website with an “eastern” orientation are already twitching over your post”

      Oooh, oooh, give me a hyperlink.

      Shagrat, Gorbag and I LOVE to watch Christians fight eachother; makes their truth claims look like straw.

      Here’s a great kerfuffle; right in front of the tomb of the “One Whose name we shall not speak” (Phil. 2:10): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_E4haW1upw

      Gotta love it!

  3. Dear Gothmog,

    I’m sorry to inform you that your services are no longer required, we can argue and divide over minutiae just fine on our own. In fact empirical evidence shows that the more religious a person is, the more they can fuel incredibly large divisions over the smallest of things. It could be argued quite successfully that they have been vastly more damaging than anything you have done.

    Devin,

    One question for you around topic number 1, are you saying that you disagree with the Roman Missal on this issue, and that we should consider different types valid? (I’m sure those allergic to gluten would be interested in that discussion). I’m going to show my ignorance and say that there are a number of things that I think fall into this category, where each faith teaches absolutes, and sometimes you don’t find any real substantive reason why, other than that’s the way it is.

    I’ve been reading books about the Orthodox faith, and I have to say that I’m learning more about being Catholic than I did from most Catholic books, with the exception of Fr. John Hardon who is a fabulous theologian. But even Hardon on some areas seems to be stretching to make a whole argument out of minutiae..

    Good Stuff…

    -Paul-

    1. Paul,

      You’re right about Gothmog’s instigation not being necessary for us to continue blowing issues out of proportion, all by ourselves!

      Regarding the azymes, my understanding is that leavened and unleavened bread are both ancient practices, each of which can be defended on a theological level. Whether the use of unleavened bread is a dogma in the Catholic Church, I do not know, and would be interested in the answer. It seems an odd thing to make a dogma, so my hope would be that both kinds of bread could be accepted, leavened in the East and unleavened in the West.

      1. Hmmm just read this on wikipedia: “The Western Church has always maintained the validity of consecration with either leavened bread or unleavened bread.”

        But have to look into it more than just wikipedia. Maybe someone more knowledgeable already knows.

        1. When I get home I can look it up in the GIRM, Jimmy Akin mentions it in his book on the Mass as well, but I could remember it wrong. I thought for sure it had to be unleavened to be licit, but it’s possible I’m wrong.

          So if it’s not Dogma, then at what level is the liturgy? that’s something I have never considered, does the liturgy and specifically the GIRM fall in between the two.

          It’s an interesting question…

          -Paul-

          1. Well, the Roman Catholic Church uses unleavened bread. The Byzantine Catholic Church uses leavened. And they’re *both* part of the One, Holy, *Catholic*, and Apostolic Church.

            Just found this, from the GIRM, #282: ” According to the tradition of the entire Church, the bread must be made from wheat; according to the tradition of the Latin Church, it must be unleavened.”

            Note it says, *LATIN* Church.

          2. Boom, there it is. So the Eastern Catholics (except for the Maronites I think) use leavened. Both are acceptable.

            And who says Rome is “dogmatic”? 🙂

          3. “Boom, there it is. So the Eastern Catholics (except for the Maronites I think) use leavened. Both are acceptable.”

            AND the Maronites use intinction!

            Dang Dogmatists imposing their rules from on high in their jewel encrusted… oh, wait. Nevermind…

          1. Many times, no question, Catholics have been put up obstacles to reunion (and done things that fueled the fires that led to the schism). But the Spirit moves, and the Catholic Church recognizes the validity of leavened and unleavened bread, so unless I learn something otherwise, the azymes issue should not be perceived as a mountain.

      2. The use of unleavened bread may or may not be a dogma in the Catholic Church (and I doubt that it is) but there sure are some in the Orthodox Church who have, in their own version of their own “infallibility” dogmatized the use of **only** leavened bread.

  4. Devin,

    Ok, I just gotta know. Where do you think East and West formally agreed on an acceptable meaning of the Filioque?

    And let’s be honest, for centuries Catholics (including numerous Popes) were quite happy and up till the 1960’s or so, to call the Orthodox heretics out of all the supposed molehills you give. And last I checked, the Trinity wasn’t a molehill. If the Filioque isn’t dogma, then get rid of it. If it is, then it isn’t a molehill. Your position here seems entirely inconsistent. Pick which these you wish to defend.

    1. Perry, you mean of course GOTHMOG, who wrote this post, but I’ll humor you. 🙂

      An understanding of the Filioque, acceptable to both Catholics and Orthodox, was achieved at the Council of Florence. Did the majority of the Orthodox ultimately accept this? No. But the rightful leaders of the Orthodox Churches, who took part in this Council, came to an agreement. In any event, I’ve read enough about the Filioque controversy from various sources to convince me that this is not something to fall on our swords over.

      The language that the Catholic Church used in referencing the Orthodox and Protestants in times past has been, I would say, regrettable. In particular calling the Orthodox heretics over the azymite controversy or the Filioque, is unhelpful at best and untrue at worst. Papal primacy is of course another matter, but even an understanding of primacy, pre-schism, has been accepted, again at Florence in the 15th century.

      God bless,
      Devin

      1. “the rightful leaders of the Orthodox Churches, who took part in this Council, came to an agreement.”
        Who were these “rightful leaders of the Orthodox Churches” who “came to an agreement”? I think I know to whom you refer, but I’d rather you state it.

        In the meantime, the majority of the Orthodox rejected Florence on March 23, 1441, over a decade before it was proclaimed in any autocephalous Church (December 12, 1452 at Constantinople).

        1. Isa,

          I would have to consult my book to give you the exact people, but I recall the Patriarch of Constantinople was there, along with representatives from Alexandria and Antioch, among many other Orthodox.

          1. As far as I am concerned (who am I on this matter anyway) the most important signatory to Florence was Constantine XI, the last Emperor.

            Case closed…

        2. “As far as I am concerned (who am I on this matter anyway) the most important signatory to Florence was Constantine XI, the last Emperor.

          Case closed…”
          Caesaropapism?

          The Emperor did not determine dogma. Otherwise we would be Arians, Semi-Arian Macedonians, Non-Chalcedonians, Monothelites and/or Iconoclasts. And at the time, Constantine had (temporal) authority over part of Thrace and about half of “Old Greece” (what would be the original territory of the Church of Greece in the 19th century). The Principality of Moldavia was of comparable size, and had deposed its Metropolitan Damian for even going to Florence, let alone the domain of Grand Duke Basil II (and Poland-Lithuania, which had sided with Pope Felix V and the council of Basel, over Pope Eugene IV and Florence, in the Vatican).

          The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople died before the “agreement” of Florence, St. Mark of Ephesus represented the Patriarch of Antioch while his collegue in the opposition, Metropolitan Anthony of Heraclea, represented the Pope of Alexandria. Met. Dionysios of Sardis, the representative of the Patriarch of Jerusalem, died a few days after the beginning of the participation of the Orthodox in the council. Cyprus, under Crusader occupation, officially had its hierarchy reduced to delegates of the Orthodox community to the Latin ordinary Archbishop in Cyprus (oddly enough, the bishops of the Maronites, Nestorians and Armenians of Cyprus came and formed a union with the Vatican at Florence). There was at least a Georgian (the one who told the Latins “a fig for your Aristotle”), but in what capacity I do not know. Ohrid did not come, and IIRC Serbia refused to send anyone.

          The joint spokemen for the Orthodox were Bessarian and St. Mark of Ephesus, which pretty much canceled each other out. (St. Mark was the only theologian the Latins respected, a fact they themselves bemoaned).

          1. Isa,

            Yet the Orthodox agreed to the accords. They went back home and the oppositional leaders like Mark of Ephesus were successful in securing the rejection of the Council from much of the clergy and laity. More’s the pity.

            Look, it’s easy to be a nay-sayer, a critic, etc. Unity cannot be achieved by entrenching ourselves into our respective positions and lobbing grenades. I am speaking to myself, to you, to those old Orthodox and Catholics who failed to achieve a lasting reunion, and everyone else.

            Instead we need an attitude to mutual respect and a _desire_ for unity, not unequivocally on any “side’s” terms, but one that finds out how we can build a bridge to each other. I encourage you to consider this, Isa. God bless,
            Devin

  5. Concerning the Filioque, that is an example of a truly pointless division. I think that St. Thomas Aquinas nailed the basis of the dispute as “ignorance or obstinacy,” but the accent really has to be laid on “obstinacy”:

    “Hence also the Greeks themselves recognize that the procession of the Holy Ghost has some order to the Son. For they grant that the Holy Ghost is the Spirit “of the Son”; and that He is from the Father “through the Son.” Some of them are said also to concede that “He is from the Son”; or that “He flows from the Son,” but not that He proceeds; which seems to come from ignorance or obstinacy. For a just consideration of the truth will convince anyone that the word procession is the one most commonly applied to all that denotes origin of any kind. For we use the term to describe any kind of origin; as when we say that a line proceeds from a point, a ray from the sun, a stream from a source, and likewise in everything else. Hence, granted that the Holy Ghost originates in any way from the Son, we can conclude that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Son.”

    ST I, 36, 2.

    You can almost hear St. Thomas slapping his forehead in that response.

  6. Thanks. I’m in a group that is slowly making its way through the Summa. After 9 years we are now in Part II, I.

    When I read that quote I busted a gut laughing.

    You don’t tend to find the ever-patient saint telling people, “you are just trying not to get it.”

    1. That was a *great* quote! Many thanks!

      Unfortunately, I know all too many people, mainly Orthodox to my great chagrin, who really try extremely hard to “not get it”. And the fact that the quote is from a “Catholic” saint (as opposed to an “Orthodox” saint) would only spur some of them on in their efforts of “trying not to get it”. This is truly sad.

  7. I read a really great defense of the Filioque recently. It argued that today one of the major dangers facing the church is paganism and this is seen in many churches when they talk as if they have direct access to the Holy Spirit independent of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Confessing that the Spirit proceeds from the Father AND the Son helps to resist this tendency. Here is the post:

    http://www.faith-theology.com/2009/10/why-i-still-confess-filioque.html

  8. Some snippets from the comments section of the video posted above:
    TheNs83ser:
    -“This is a proof that Russian Church and heads of state are under control by Vatican (jesuits). Putin and Medvedev are part of global satanization and Russians can’t see a thing. That’s why they support muslims agaisnt Israel and they support EU against Orthodox Serbia (by doing nothing instead of serving to papacy).”
    -“Russian Orthodox Church does not exist anymore. It is a Vatican’s church.”

    ShoutingGaurd:
    “I thought Russia is not satanist country … I am disappointed.”

    TheCrookedTimber:
    “Can anyone tell me why these Russian clergymen are kissing the Pope’s hand? Since when do Orthodoxy priests or bishops kiss the hand of a heretic?”

    Gropafpaf:
    “Outrageous absolutely outrageous! I am deeply shocked by this video. The compromise of our hierarchs with these heretics therefore knows no limits? one day he will have to choose between our truth and their lies. But apparently for many the choice is already made.

    Now, I communicate more in the churches of the Moscow Patriarchate as it is Uniate.”
    ———————————————————————
    I laughed at this exchange:
    spbbrv:
    “Canon 32 of the Council of Laodicea: It is unlawful to receive the blessings of heretics, for they are rather follies than blessings.”

    ratzguard:
    “Consequently, the Pope is not a heretic. Otherwise you’ll have to conclude that the entire hierarchy of the Orthodox Church Moscow Patriarchate – the heretics, as Hilary is not on a private visit, but as the official representative and spokesman of the will of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. That is, you claim that your church run heretics. And who are you then?”
    ————————————————————————-

    GuymontaGuy:
    Absolutely disgusting, we are still in the revealed truth or sinking us in the search for social compromise? Why negotiate with evil? Poor Orthodox Church, Russian Church poor!

  9. Let me close this out by wishing all readers and posters a Blessed Feast of St. Nicholas of Myra, who is venerated on this day East AND West.

    ICXC
    NIKA

    Ad majoram Dei gloriam

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