Roman Catholics have been a small but influential force in Dixie, counting among their number men like Donald Davidson and Walker Percy. But although Roman Catholicism is much closer in some ways to the Orthodox Church than the Protestant sects, it is still a system that is separated from the Truth and thus no longer a safe guide to salvation. Fr Andrew Phillips discusses one of the deformations that has resulted from the sundering of the Patriarchate of Rome from the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church in some correspondence of his:
Why does bullfighting not exist in Orthodox countries?
J. S., Catalonia
Bullfighting only exists in certain once Catholic countries, Spain, Portugal, southern France and ex-colonies in Latin America. On the other hand, bullfighting is unknown in Ireland, Austria and other Catholic countries. It is also unknown in once Protestant and once Orthodox countries. However, it seems that in pagan Minoan Crete, as in the myth of Hercules who ‘took the bull by the horns’, it did exist. This suggests that bullfighting is a pre-Christian, pagan custom, once prevalent in many parts of the Mediterranean, but which survives only in the Catholic west Mediterranean, not in the Greek Orthodox east Mediterranean, nor in the ex-Greek Orthodox central Mediterranean. Why?
The fact is that Catholicism has a cult of blood and death, what we may call ‘crucifixionism’, which very clearly and suddenly began with its birth in the late eleventh century with images of ‘Jesus’ as a suffering, dying or dead human-being. (See for confirmation any of the studies of the Catholic Middle Ages by the Oxford scholar Sir Richard Southern). This developed into the bloody portrayal of the lives of the martyrs in, for example, the medieval anthology ‘The Golden Legend’ and also into the constipated sentimentalism of Catholic pietism.
This cult of blood, dead bodies and death can be seen in the pietistic Catholic veneration of human organs (bleeding hearts) and wounds, in the tortures of the Spanish (and French) Inquisition, and in Catholic art (Bosch and Goya, for example). However, it also exists in other Catholic countries, where bullfighting does not exist, for example in catacomb mummies, strange funeral customs throughout the Catholic world and customs of flagellation and self-mutilation in southern Italy and the once Spanish Philippines, especially on Great and Holy Friday.
This cult of blood is part of the Catholic cult of suffering and self-flagellation – beloved still today by Mother Teresa’s followers and Opus Dei. Morbid ‘crucifixionism’, as can be seen in Italian films on the Crucifixion or the Gibson film ‘The Passion of Christ’, the portrayal of the bleeding human-being Christ (‘Jesus’) on the Cross, is indeed partly why Protestantism rejects the Cross, seeing it as a symbol of death, instead of what it is, the symbol of Life and victory over death. It may be that the Arian-Protestant sect, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, also rejects blood transfusions as a result of the rejection of what it associates with Catholicism.
Bullfighting is unknown in once Protestant countries (although here bearbaiting, cockfighting and until recently fox-hunting were once very popular). Today, in these countries all such blood-sports are frowned on and even detested because of the prevalence of secularist values with political correctness and animal rights. Since, for secularists, human-beings are merely intelligent animals, we should not treat animals any differently from Western human beings. (Non-Western human-beings may be massacred freely, however, as in Rwanda, Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya and the Ukraine).
Why then do we Orthodox not cultivate bullfighting? Because in Orthodoxy, although and because we partake of the Body and Blood of Christ in Communion, we have no cult of blood, no ‘crucifixionism’. As Orthodox, we consider that we suffer enough simply by being faithful Orthodox Christians – not least through persecution by Catholicism and Protestantism, and we do not artificially seek or create suffering or entertain morbid images of torture of the human body.
We do not tolerate self-flagellation or a morbid cult of death, blood and human remains – the wax dummies that dead Catholic saints are turned into (which is quite different from the veneration of holy relics). This is because we do not imitate Christ outwardly, but imitate Him inwardly. Thus, we live in the Risen Christ, through the Holy Spirit, by Whom the Church, Whose Head is Christ and Which is the Risen Body of Christ, lives. Our cult is not of death, but of Life, of the Spirit, of the Victorious Resurrection, of Christ triumphant on the Cross.
Source: http://www.events.orthodoxengland.org.uk/orthodoxy-on-bullfighting-a-possible-future-revolution-in-russia-religious-statues-and-homosexuality-four-questions-from-recent-correspondence/, opened 3 Oct. 2017
Afterword on ‘Southern Christianity: The Shortcomings of the ‘Personal Relationship with Jesus’ Theology’
In order to clarify that the Orthodox experience of the Uncreated Light of God is always a personal one (never an impersonal one, as with the Roman Catholic conception of God as an impersonal essence), we thought it best to add this short comment from a Transfiguration sermon of Bishop Maxim:
‘Speaking of the Uncreated Energies revealed as Light at the Transfiguration, Vladika noted that the Energies can never be separated from the Person of God, or from the experience of God as Person.’
Source: http://sainthermanmonastery.org/2017/08/24/bishop-maxim-visits-for-the-feast-of-transfiguration-2017/, opened 30 Sept. 2017
This article is a good illustration of true Orthodox life being lived out here in the States. Thanks be to God that it is also being embraced by more and more Southerners as well:
Holy Ælfred the Great, King of England, South Patron, pray for us sinners at the Souð, unworthy though we are!
Anathema to the Union!