Ein Gutes hat er auf jeden Fall: Jetzt ist klar, dass die Ärzte ein Teil des Problems sind – und nicht seiner Lösung.


Was ist Ökumene? Die Botschaft Christi in die ganze bewohnte Welt tragen. (Und nicht: mit der ganzen bewohnten Welt darüber verhandeln, was eventuell die Botschaft sein könnte.)

The Need to Act

Der russisch-orthodoxe Bischof Hilarion Alfeyev in einem Interview mit Inside the Vatican [via idea]:

The liberal, weakened „Christianity“ of the Protestant communities cannot resist the onslaught of Islam; only staunch, traditional Christianity can stand against it, ready to defend its moral positions. In this battle, the Orthodox and Catholics could, even in the face of all the differences accumulated over the centuries, form a united front.

The primary purpose of the strategic cooperation that I propose should be the defense of traditional moral values such as the family, childbirth, spousal fidelity. These values are subjected to systematic mockery and derision in Europe by liberals and democrats of all types. Instead of spousal fidelity, „free love“ is promoted, same-sex partnerships are equated with the union of marriage, childbirth is opposed by „family planning.“ Unfortunately, we have serious differences in these matters with most Protestants, not to speak of fundamental differences of theological and ecclesiological character.

I will use as an example a conversation with a Lutheran bishop, held within the framework of a theological dialogue with one of the Northern Lutheran churches. We tried to prepare a joint document in the defense of traditional values. We began to talk about abortion. I asked: „Can we put in the joint document that abortion is a sin?“ The Lutheran bishop responded: „Well, of course, we don’t promote abortion, we prefer contraception.“ My question: „But abortion is in the opinion of your church, a sin, or is it not?“ His reply: „Well, you see, there are various circumstances, for example, the life of a mother or child could be in danger.“ „Well, if there is no threat to either the mother or the child, then is abortion a sin, or not?“ And the Lutheran bishop still could not concede that abortion is a sin.

What is there to talk about then, if abortion is not a sin, same-sex marriage is fine, and contraception is wonderful? There it is, liberal Christianity in all its glory. It is clear for me that presently only Catholics and Orthodox preserve the traditional view of family values in Europe, and in this regard, as in many others, we are strategic partners.



As I read and re-read all the non-Christian or anti-Christian accounts of the faith, from Huxley to Bradlaugh, a slow and awful impression grew gradually but graphically upon my mind — the impression that Christianity must be a most extraordinary thing. For not only (as I understood) had Christianity the most flaming vices, but it had apparently a mystical talent for combining vices which seemed inconsistent with each other. It was attacked on all sides and for all contradictory reasons. No sooner had one rationalist demonstrated that it was too far to the east than another demonstrated with equal clearness that it was much too far to the west. No sooner had my indignation died down at its angular and aggressive squareness than I was called up again to notice and condemn its enervating and sensual roundness. In case any reader has not come across the thing I mean, I will give such instances as I remember at random of this self-contradiction in the sceptical attack. I give four or five of them; there are fifty more.

Thus, for instance, I was much moved by the eloquent attack on Christianity as a thing of inhuman gloom; for I thought (and still think) sincere pessimism the unpardonable sin. Insincere pessimism is a social accomplishment, rather agreeable than otherwise; and fortunately nearly all pessimism is insincere. But if Christianity was, as these people said, a thing purely pessimistic and opposed to life, then I was quite prepared to blow up St. Paul’s Cathedral. But the extraordinary thing is this. They did prove to me in Chapter I. (to my complete satisfaction) that Christianity was too pessimistic; and then, in Chapter II., they began to prove to me that it was a great deal too optimistic. One accusation against Christianity was that it prevented men, by morbid tears and terrors, from seeking joy and liberty in the bosom of Nature. But another accusation was that it comforted men with a fictitious providence, and put them in a pink-and-white nursery. One great agnostic asked why Nature was not beautiful enough, and why it was hard to be free. Another great agnostic objected that Christian optimism, „the garment of make-believe woven by pious hands,“ hid from us the fact that Nature was ugly, and that it was impossible to be free. One rationalist had hardly done calling Christianity a nightmare before another began to call it a fool’s paradise. This puzzled me; the charges seemed inconsistent. Christianity could not at once be the black mask on a white world, and also the white mask on a black world. The state of the Christian could not be at once so comfortable that he was a coward to cling to it, and so uncomfortable that he was a fool to stand it. If it falsified human vision it must falsify it one way or another; it could not wear both green and rose-coloured spectacles. I rolled on my tongue with a terrible joy, as did all young men of that time, the taunts which Swinburne hurled at the dreariness of the creed —

„Thou hast conquered, O pale Galilean, the world has grown gray with Thy breath.“

But when I read the same poet’s accounts of paganism (as in „Atalanta“), I gathered that the world was, if possible, more gray before the Galilean breathed on it than afterwards. The poet maintained, indeed, in the abstract, that life itself was pitch dark. And yet, somehow, Christianity had darkened it. The very man who denounced Christianity for pessimism was himself a pessimist. I thought there must be something wrong. And it did for one wild moment cross my mind that, perhaps, those might not be the very best judges of the relation of religion to happiness who, by their own account, had neither one nor the other.

It must be understood that I did not conclude hastily that the accusations were false or the accusers fools. I simply deduced that Christianity must be something even weirder and wickeder than they made out. A thing might have these two opposite vices; but it must be a rather queer thing if it did. A man might be too fat in one place and too thin in another; but he would be an odd shape. At this point my thoughts were only of the odd shape of the Christian religion; I did not allege any odd shape in the rationalistic mind.

G. K. Chesterton: Orthodoxy. Aus dem Kapitel The Paradoxes of Christianity.


Ein Nachtrag

Seltsamer Tag. Meine liturgische Zeitansage vermeldet den Montag der 9. Woche im Jahreskreis. Das Stundengebet geht zum Alltag über. Trotzdem entfällt der eigentlich gebotene Gedenktag des heiligen Bonifatius. Und in der Messfeier kann die Messe von Pfingsten wiederholt werden oder auch nicht. Unordnung schon dort, wo Ordnung beschrieben wird.

Wie das? Der Pfingstmontag ist ein Relikt der von den nachkonziliaren Liturgiereformern aus dem Kalender gestrichenen Pfingstoktav. Eigentlich überflüssig geworden, führt er ein liturgisches Schattendasein ohne Eigentexte. Und die Leerstelle wird von immer mehr pseudo-ökumenischem Schnickschnack ausgefüllt. Aus Unordnung geht Chaos hervor.

Meine Gemeinde fügte dem Sammelsurium der Kuriositäten in diesem Jahr eine für mich neue Variante hinzu: eine Messe ohne Wortgottesdienst, also ihrer inneren Logik beraubt (und natürlich von keiner Instanz erlaubt, außer der Selbstermächtigung). Anschließend fand dann ein ökumenischer Gottesdienst auf dem benachbarten Fußballplatz statt.

Vorschlag: Wenn schon die Pfingstoktav nicht wieder eingeführt werden kann (was in jeder Hinsicht Sinn ergeben und den Osterfestkreis mit einer seiner Bedeutung entsprechenden Festwoche abschließen würde), dann sollte der Pfingstmontag komplett gestrichen und dafür ein wirkliches Hochfest zum Feiertag erklärt werden. Mit Blick in die nächsten Wochen bieten sich Johannes der Täufer oder Peter und Paul an.

So, wie er heute begangen wird, ist der Pfingstmontag von Übel.