Greek European Culture

Europe - West, Orthodox Christianity

Christians without hope!

Strange and true, they define themselves as “Christians”, but they don’t believe in the Resurrection! Even re-incarnation or a complete vanishing seems to them more plausible and desirable! According to Aeneas’ Quest, this is the situation among French Catholics, and we have no reason to infer that Catholics of other nationalities may differ substantially.

A visitor of the Greek-speaking blog of Ellopos asked what are the differences between Orthodox and Catholic Christians. I gave her a short answer, referring her to an online article where such differences are listed, warning her at the same time, that most of these differences need careful thinking if one is going to understand their deeper meaning, otherwise they look insignificant. Finally I told her that all of these differences come from and lead to a Catholic understanding of the Christian faith as a road that makes man a slave of God. For an Orthodox Christian a man should become not a slave but a friend of God and be united with Him.

I believe that this crucial difference explains also the Catholic denial of the resurrection, which seems absurd at first glance, since Resurrection is a fundamental Christian doctrine.  Sometimes we say that Nietzsche accused Christians (having knowledge only of the Western Christians) for their lack of joy. Yet, this accusation is much older, made also by such devoted Catholics as Meister Eckhart. It is not a coincidence that Meister Eckhart, the greatest theologian in the West, was condemned by the pope for teaching among other, perfectly right, doctrines, that “if Ι were accepting anything from God, Ι should be subject to him or below him as a servant or slave, and he in giving would be as a master. We shall not be so in life everlasting” (see the ninth article of Eckhart’s condemnation).


  1. Carlos Palad

    “I believe that this crucial difference explains also the Catholic denial of the resurrection…”

    This is such an absurd conclusion! Many individual “Catholics” may deny the Resurrection (in the same way that many nominal Orthodox may know nothing of many aspects of their faith) but the Catholic Church certainly teaches, and believes in, the Resurrection of Christ.

    This is the kind of Orthodox polemics that makes Catholics like me wonder if the Orthodox really have any interest in trying to understand what Catholicism actually teaches!

  2. Perhaps you didn’t read the post carefully. It speaks about a poll that revealed views and attitudes of the majority of Catholic believers – not the official teaching of the Catholic church. Thus I write that the results of the poll are even more surprising, “since Resurrection is a fundamental Christian doctrine”, i.e., a doctrine of all the Christian churches – Orthodox, Catholic, or Protestant churches. Since, all of the Christian churches teach about the resurrection, we have to understand why the majority of the members of the Catholic church, the ordinary faithful, tend to deny this teaching. My post was an attempt towards such an explanation.

  3. Erica V.

    So let me see if I understand you correctly: Based on your response to the last comment, you appear to acknowledge that the Roman Church teaches the truth of the Resurrection. Your complaint is that the majority of ordinary Catholics, “the faithful,” don’t believe in the Resurrection. And you’ve drawn this conclusion based on a single study of French Catholics. Surely you must realize that a study concerning what Catholics in France (a highly secular nation) believe or don’t believe has very little to say about the views of Catholics anywhere else in the world (and having just taken a look at this study, it doesn’t seem all that informative about individual French Catholics either). Am I giving you too much credit to assume that you see the glaring error in judgment here?

    Not only do Catholics believe in the Resurrection, we rejoice in it as a source of hope, as do Orthodox and Reform Christians. I have come across Protestant anti-Catholicism (though fortunately, this seems to be on the wane), and more recently, I’ve been treated to secularist anti-Catholic vitriol. But I’m really shocked and saddened to come across this blog. I grew up in a region of the U.S. where Orthodox and Latin Rite Christians live side by side and frequently worship in each others’ churches. My own family is mixed Orthodox and Catholic. I have always found the Eastern Rite to be a most beautiful expression of Christianity (particularly your Easter greeting to one another: “Christ is risen.” “Indeed, He is risen.” How glorious!) The best way you can spread the truth and beauty of your tradition is by not sullying it with hatemongering of Catholics or anyone else.

  4. Of course France is not ‘highly secular’ compared with the US, where God is money! Furthermore, to worship in each other’s churches is just a soup, proving that both cultures have become irrelevant. This is also evident from your last remark, on how ‘beautiful’ the ‘Eastern Rite’ is. Perhaps you find also the buddhist celebrations ‘beautiful’, don’t you? This way we have faith as some customs in the margin of our lives, customs that are very similar in broad terms, so that in the end we don’t differ that much. The american soup is ready to be served!

    Beyond of these, we will be able to communicate better, if you make yourself the favour to think not only on what happens in your neighbourhood, but in a historical perspective. The course of centuries speaks clearly, and it is the lessons we receive from this course that makes us more able to judge our current situation. We don’t expect from any poll to tell us if Catholics believe in the Resurrection. You can just read the literature of the Catholic peoples, you can just watch them in their progress towards nihilism, after they dissolved into Catholics and Protestants. If you are not aware of the relevant bibliography, you can start from some basic texts, such as the essays of L. Dumont, J. Gassett and Max Weber.

    Cf. Ellopos, The Papal Science, Gassett, The Revolt of the Masses, Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Nietzsche, The European Nihilism. Cf. at Aeneas’ Quest, Secularism in contemporary America: 1st Part, 2nd Part