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Varia

latin_ms.jpgI’m slowly getting back in oscillationem rerum with Latin. The grammatical concepts are all more or less there, it’s just little things like, oh, vocabulary and the whole freakin’ verb system I have to cram back into my head. Optare, optavisse, optaturus esse, optari, optatus esse, optatum iri… if you see me on the elliptical machine at the gym looking like I’m having a very agitated conversation with myself, I’m reviewing Latin.

Fr. Stephen Freeman has an interesting look at the the word “fullness” and its implications within Orthodox Christianity. It is very much worth reading in its entirety, but a couple of points jump out at me:

Fullness means more than being correct. It is possible to be correct about something, and yet be empty and lifeless. Fullness is correct because it is a true reflection of God and not because it can be measured against the law or a set of rules (or the canons, etc.).

“It is possible to be correct about something, and yet be empty and lifeless.” So true as to not require any comment, only repetition.

Fullness implies a completeness.

The word Fr. Stephen is hinting at without saying is catholic–from κατά + ὅλον kata-holon, “according to the whole.” Catholicity, while a much-debated word, really boils down to the state of lacking nothing. The fullness of our faith, in other words, is where our catholicity is to be found–but this brings us to an irony:

I do know, and have said elsewhere, “Why would anyone want something less than the fullness of the faith?”

The irony here is that the very claim of “the fullness of the faith” is exactly what turns away some who I’ve known. Even if it’s true, so some have said to me, that shouldn’t be anything we care about if we are to preach only Christ, and Him crucified. If you think you’ve got the fullness of the faith, in other words, that’s proof that you don’t.

Isn’t epistemology fun?

Get Religion has a good post on political writers ignoring Roman Catholics. The last line sums it up well:

Yes, there is a longstanding antipathy between intellectuals devoted to the Enlightenment and Catholics devoted to Rome. Yet magazine writers wrote about Catholic voting trends. So why don’t political reporters?

I’m reminded of how in 2004, something of a big deal was made about how the Catholic vote was important enough to the Republicans that Bush paid a visit to the Knights of Columbus. I remember thinking to myself, “Do the Orthodox even have a comparable group for any of the political parties to snub?”

And, well–no, we don’t.

Not yet.

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