I saw nothing yesterday I felt much like blogging about, so I followed up a story I’ve neglected too long: The conflict between Father (now Saint) Alexis Toth and Roman Catholic Archbishop John Ireland.
Relations with Eastern Catholics
In 1891, [Archbishop John] Ireland refused to accept the clerical credentials of Byzantine Rite, Ruthenian Catholic priest Alexis Toth, citing the decree that married priests of the Eastern Catholic Churches were not permitted to function in the Catholic Church in the United States, despite Toth being a widower. Ireland then forbade Toth to minister to his own parishioners, despite the fact that Toth had jurisdiction from his own bishop and did not answer to Ireland. Ireland was also involved in efforts to expel all non-Latin Rite Roman Catholic clergy from the United States of America. Forced into an impasse, Toth went on to lead thousands of Ruthenian Catholics out of the Roman Communion and into the Orthodox Church. Because of this, Archbishop Ireland is sometimes referred to, ironically, as “The Father of the Orthodox Church in America.” Marvin R. O’Connell, author of a biography on Ireland, summarizes the situation by stating that “if Ireland’s advocacy of the blacks displayed him at his best, his belligerence toward the Uniates [Eastern Catholics] showed him at his bull-headed worst.”
Ex-Calvinist as I am, an Old Testament passage comes to mind:
O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation. I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets. Howbeit he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so; but it is in his heart to destroy and cut off nations not a few.
For he saith, Are not my princes altogether kings? Is not Calno as Carchemish? Is not Hamath as Arpad? Is not Samaria as Damascus? As my hand hath found the kingdoms of the idols, and whose graven images did excel them of Jerusalem and of Samaria; Shall I not, as I have done unto Samaria and her idols, so do to Jerusalem and her idols?
Wherefore it shall come to pass, that when the Lord hath performed his whole work upon mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks.
* * * * *
“The remarks made in this essay do not represent scholarly research. They are intended as topical stimulations for conversation among intelligent and informed people.” (Gerhart Niemeyer)