Much of the Catholic blogosphere has been abuzz the past couple of days with news of Rod Dreher's announcement of his chrismation in the Orthodox Church. There are two posts- one longer than the other - on Rod's blog on Beliefnet about this. However, Rod tells me that Beliefnet is in the process of a redesign which is supposed to be final tomorrow, I think. For that reason, the site has been screwy, and the pertinent posts keeps appearing and disappearing. Nothing sinister, just Internet glitches.
There has been commentary - much of what bloggers have said about this has been reasoned and charitable, even as there are disagreements about Rod's move and questions about his stated reasons. The commentary in many of the comments boxes has been less illuminating, though, much of it marked by a vituperativeness that is a poor witness to any non-Catholics who might be cruising the web, wondering what Catholics are like. The defense of these comments is that, "Well, when a brother goes astray, we owe it to him to be forceful and just tell it as it is." The weight of the comments is not coming across as bluntness in a Pauline paradigm, unfortunately.
What do I have to say?
Rod and I have been having regular conversations about this and related matters for about 4 years or so now. I find myself totally unable to publicly comment on what Rod has said about this because anything I have tried to formulate seems to verge on being a breech of confidence. I've said what I needed to say to Rod (many times) , and I really don't know what else to say, or what else I could say.
I think I'll try to post more generally on this and on Jody Bottum's recent First Things piece tomorrow or the next day, because they're related.
Having said that, however, Dreher’s essay is important. Yes, his decision is in large part reactive. But he is reacting to very real corruptions in the Catholic Church. I hope every Catholic bishop and priest will read his essay, and especially those bishops and priests who are inclined to heave a sigh of relief that we have weathered the sex-abuse scandal. And every Catholic engaged in the standard intra-church quarrels, whether on the left or the right, should take to heart what he says about Catholics being more preoccupied with church battles than with following Jesus.
Dreher concludes his reflection with this: “Still, those of you more charitably inclined, please just pray for me and my family, that we always live in truth, and do the right thing, and be found pleasing to God, the Father of us all.” No Catholic should hesitate to join in that prayer.
You might want to remember, too, that Fr. Neuhaus and Dreher have had disagreements in print in the past. Which makes his prayerful response to Rod's move all the more instructive for the the rest of us.
And speaking of prayers - prayers of thanksgiving for a new little Dreher, a little sister Nora Lucia, who joins brothers Matthew and Lucas and their parents Rod and Julie. A bright little light, a blessing from God.