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Introduction #184537 08/04/02 12:32 AM
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Gerard Serafin Offline OP
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I read with some sadness the administrator's comments about my posts. But no big deal, I guess. Not everyone's style is agreeable to everyone! And I am hardly without faults and failures.

But I will take this occasion to introduce myself a bit to those who may not know me at all.

I have been involved in Catholic-Orthodox dialog for many years. I was a founder of our St Maximus Society here in Baltimore over six years ago and this group has now affiliated itself with the Society of Saint John Chrysostom. We have particpants from various local Catholic and Orthodox churches. That includes clergy of both Churches.

I also am webservant for Saint Michael's Russian Catholic Church in New York and do the website for the Society of St John Chrysostom from Istanbul, Turkey.

Some of my best friendships are with Orthodox. This includes most especially an OCA priest: the two of us go out to lunch or dinner several times a week and he rides me to the doctor's most of the time (I have been very sick and am now disabled). I have shared my experiences on the internet with him and he has been a good support for me (and has been himself very disappointed in some of what has happened to me - and, yes, he knows my own style and contributions real well).

I have been friends with an Orthodox bishop as well and have supported financially an outreach he is involved with.

I share this to give context and perspective to my comments (which are not made lighty or easily or without deep anguish).

I do not appreciate it when the Church I love passionately is attacked or misrepresented and I do speak up. I am not a complete dummy either and thus sometimes, at least, what I say may have some truth to it. This has not always been well received. I am surprised, for example, that the administrator took me to task and not the other poster who wrote rather harsh things about me.

But I guess that, too, is no big deal.

At any rate, I have become extremely disillusioned and no longer hope (humanly) for unity between the Catholic and Orthdox Churches. I have my reasons. I confide these to my own spiritual father and to my Orthdox priest friend, who has been most accepting. (And we just had a great dinner together and I updated him some).

I hope this post is not out of place. I don't know how to address this criticism given by the administrator.

I hope to continue on this board but realize that may not be possible - since I do not tailor my writings to be acceptable or agreeable. I try to speak what I believe.

May the Lord have mercy on us all!

PS My name is "Gerard" not "Gerald" and Serafin is a middle name.

PPS My own website, A Catholic Page for Lovers, has a good bit about Catholic-Orthodox relations and many resources. I also have on my website the most extensive resource (as far as I know) on the internet on the "Filioque" issue - this issue is a special love of mine.
[ 08-03-2002: Message edited by: Gerard Serafin ]

[ 08-03-2002: Message edited by: Gerard Serafin ]

Re: Introduction #184538 08/04/02 01:59 AM
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John
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Gerard,

Please be assured of my prayers for your health and please also accept my apologies for getting your name wrong.

No one has ever said that you were not a nice person or that we did not all love you. It's just that your posts are chalk full of uncharitable comments about not just Orthodoxy but Orthodox people. You should be able to witness your faith without resorting to attacking others. Yet in the other thread you speak of how most Orthodox are unkind and you have found only a few exceptions to that generalization. Because you were challenged you tempered your comments with statements that you have friends who are Orthodox. And in your above post you speak to the good person you are rather than to the unacceptable content of what you have written.

This is really more than just an issue of style. It is an issue of kindness. Even if an occasional poster attacks another's Church unfairly it is always wrong to respond in kind. The only appropriate response is to kindly and gently present your position with the appropriate material needed to justify your position as legitimate. There is never an excuse to be uncharitable, condescending or self-righteous.

You mentioned that I had no words for the other person who posted harsh things about you. This is true. I have never met OrthoMan but he has been a member of our online family for at least four years. He is a staunch defender of Orthodoxy but I have never found any of his posts to be judgmental or harsh. His words to you could only have been in response to your being the catalyst.

If you are going to become part of this internet cyber-parish you need to make sure that what you post is always charitable. If you feel unable to change your style of posting to suit the requirements of Christian charity, I invite you not to post in the future.

Administrator

Re: Introduction #184539 08/04/02 11:23 AM
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Gerard Serafin Offline OP
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Come, Holy Spirit!

Please be assured of my prayers for your health and please also accept my apologies for getting your name wrong.

Thanks. My recovery goes very well (though I am disabled) and the quality of my life is good indeed. Much to be thankful for and I must say I appreciate the gift of life itself and the many blessings so lavishly poured out more than ever. God is good!

No one has ever said that you were not a nice person or that we did not all love you. It's just that your posts are chalk full of uncharitable comments about not just Orthodoxy but Orthodox

Never even thought about being a "nice person" or if I was loved by all or not - in the context of this board! But I hope I am a reasonably nice person and, of course, it is good to be loved!
smile


The only appropriate response is to kindly and gently present your position with the appropriate material needed to justify your position as legitimate.

That is exactly what I hope to do, God willing. Come, Holy Spirit! (Thanks for the reminder).

If you are going to become part of this internet cyber-parish you need to make sure that what you post is always charitable. If you feel unable to change your style of posting to suit the requirements of Christian charity, I invite you not to post in the future.

I pray I will always be a lover! And I hope that this works out. I really appreciate this "cyber-parish" already. I hope to always invoke the Holy Spirit before I write any reply or responses.

One last comment: I hope I have never used ad hominems against any individuals and that when I speak of others by name I do not destroy their reputations or attack their person. I do not do this in real life and hope I never do this in cyberspace as well.

Thank you for your reply and response. I hope all works out well. I hope to do what I can to honor the good suggestions you kindly offer.

God richly bless us all, through Our Lord Jesus Christ: to whom be glory forever!

Re: Introduction #184540 08/06/02 12:30 AM
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Jenny Offline
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Hi Gerard,

Thanks for the introduction. I just want to say that I LOVE your website! I have been visiting it for quite a while and I was pleasantly surprised to see you posting on this forum.

I said a prayer for your health. I'm only 30, but I have had my share of health problems (I have a blood clotting disorder and have had 3 major blood clots in my legs, starting at age 21). I understand how it can make life difficult.

God Bless you,

Jenny

Re: Introduction #184541 08/06/02 09:55 AM
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Gerard Serafin Offline OP
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Come, Holy Spirit!

Jenny writes:

Thanks for the introduction. I just want to say that I LOVE your website! I have been visiting it for quite a while and I was pleasantly surprised to see you posting on this forum.

Hi Jenny,

Thanks for your kind words. And you sure know how to cheer a heart - since my website is indeed a labor of love. I am so glad you find it helpful. I hope, too, you may have checked out my "Blog" at:

http://blogforlovers.blogspot.com

And my Live Journal at:

http://www.livejournal.com/users/gerardserafin

And if you visit, please say a prayer for me.

I said a prayer for your health. I'm only 30, but I have had my share of health problems (I have a blood clotting disorder and have had 3 major blood clots in my legs, starting at age 21). I understand how it can make life difficult.

Jenny, God bless you and sustain you! My own "troubles" began last year with an inablity to walk and it turned out to be blood clots in the leg. I almost lost a leg but they took a chance and after intense surgery it has healed up quite remarkably (I even have some movement in the foot now). A lot else went wrong too and oh how sick I was.

But I came home last year on August 14, the Vigil of the Assumption/Dormition. I will have much to celebrate this year. While I am disabled, my life is GOOD and God is good!

I can't tell you how grateful I am for any prayers you may have offered for me, Jenny. I will remember you, too, and pray that your own life radiates God's goodness despite any limitations and "troubles" that beset you. God bless, sustain, comfort, lead you and rejoice your heart by His Love and Mercies, which are new each morning.

Thanks again.

A blessed Feast of the Transfiguration to you and all.

[ 08-06-2002: Message edited by: Gerard Serafin ]

Re: Introduction #184542 08/06/02 04:36 PM
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Daniil Offline
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Dear Gerard,

Your websites are great! The St. Michael's website makes the Russian Greek Catholic Church look like a growing, international Church (Am I wrong? Is it infact growing?). Keep up the good work.

Daniil

Re: Introduction #184543 08/06/02 04:51 PM
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Dear Gerard,

Anyone who is portrayed with a dog like you are on your website has my vote!

I know it's hard to believe, but I myself have been annoying to people here.

No, I'm not kidding . . .

I enjoy your posts, but I can't help feeling that there is some sensitivity over that "Orthodox thing."

Did you at some time ever think of becoming Orthodox yourself?

In any event, we true Catholics have to stick together! smile

Alex

Re: Introduction #184544 08/06/02 06:16 PM
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Brendan Offline
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"Did you at some time ever think of becoming Orthodox yourself?"

I believe Gerard used to be Orthodox -- that is, he was Catholic, became Orthodox (Antiochian, IIRC), and then returned to Catholicism.

Re: Introduction #184545 08/06/02 07:10 PM
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Sharon Mech Offline
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Hey Gerard,

Nice to see you here. I am glad to hear that you continue to recover, albeit slowly. My own beloved is much in the same boat though through a different route. Every bit of recovered function or endurance is a remarkable gift. May you be overwhelmed by the generosity of the Giver.


Best,

Sharon

Sharon Mech, SFO
Cantor & sinner
sharon@cmhc.com

Re: Introduction #184546 08/06/02 07:11 PM
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Gerard Serafin Offline OP
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Come, Holy Spirit!

Alex wrote:

Anyone who is portrayed with a dog like you are on your website has my vote!

Alex, perhaps you went to my blog rather than my website (if you dig deep enough there you can find a picture of me and my buddy, ONION, my beloved 15 and a half year old peke).

My website, A Catholic Page for Lovers, is at: http://praiseofglory.com

I would be honored if you would visit and browse around (and say a prayer for me).

I enjoy your posts, but I can't help feeling that there is some sensitivity over that "Orthodox thing."

Did you at some time ever think of becoming Orthodox yourself?


Our experiences are unique to each of us yet undeniable. And usually complex and many layers. I won't say more about that now....

Regarding my ever thinking of becoming Orthodox, Brendan answered that already. I say nothing more.

In any event, we true Catholics have to stick together!

Well, whether I am "true" or not, I will leave that to God to judge. But I will say that I am madly in love with the Catholic Church and am always prone to be favorably disposed to my fellow Catholics. Scripture says that we should do good to all, but especially to those of the household of the faith.

I completely affirm the magnificent vision of the Catholic Church regarding the essential unity of all those who believe in Christ - but I also have a special place in my own heart for members of the Catholic family. Of north, south, east, or west.

P.S. I am still trying to get the UBB code right and wind up editing more than I would like! I confuse it with HTML at times.

[ 08-06-2002: Message edited by: Gerard Serafin ]

[ 08-06-2002: Message edited by: Gerard Serafin ]

Re: Introduction #184547 08/06/02 07:34 PM
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Dear Gerard,

I didn't mean to pry into your personal life - oh, all right I did, who am I kidding? smile

But if you are madly in love with the Church, as I am, then that is what counts more than canon laws, regulations, rules etc.

Much can be forgiven the two of us, if we love much.

Or so Someone once said!

Your humble and prying servant,

Alex

Re: Introduction #184548 08/06/02 08:42 PM
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Gerard Serafin Offline OP
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Sharon writes:

Nice to see you here. I am glad to hear that you continue to recover, albeit slowly. My own beloved is much in the same boat though through a different route. Every bit of recovered function or endurance is a remarkable gift. May you be overwhelmed by the generosity of the Giver.

Sharon, thanks so much for the warm welcome. To know you are here gives this board already a feel of "home."

I hope your beloved does well in recovery. My own recovery is good even if I am now "disabled" - but even within this limitation and the precariousness of life, life is good indeed. I am blessed to have the best family and friends in the world and the best buddy as well (ONION, my beloved peke).

God is good!

Thanks again.

Re: Introduction #184549 08/07/02 03:50 PM
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Dear Gerard,

I have seen (and LOVE) your blog! I hadn't seen the Live Journal, though. I will visit and say a prayer.

Thanks for your prayers! I really appreciate them. I will continue to pray for you.

God Bless!

Jenny

Re: Introduction #184550 08/08/02 02:11 AM
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Inawe Offline
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Dear Gerard,

Welcome to the Forum. It is truly a healthy and supporting cyber community with members from many religions and Churches. I, like you, am a member of the Latin Church. I come here to learn of the wisdom and insights found in the doctrines and practices and liturgy of the Eastern and Oriental Churches.

When appropriate or necessary, I share the wisdom and insights of the Latin Church. As the administrator has pointed out, though, this is a place for Byzantine Catholics and other Eastern and Oriental Christians to talk together with guests welcome to join in.

I agree with him that the focus should not be the Latin Church.

I have found through some turbulent times that the administrator and the moderators are supportive of the rule of the primacy of Charity in all discourse among us. I trust that you will find the same. I know that they are open to discussion when disagreements happen.

I look forward to learning from you and with you.

I pray that your health continues to improve and that the Good God will grant His healing to us all.

Ad multos annos.

Steve

Re: Introduction #184551 08/08/02 02:44 PM
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Dear Gerard,

Yes, as I said, I like you too!

I do think you sometimes pay too much attention to source material and rely a tad too much on the views of others to somehow defend your own perspective.

And that is not necessary from the point of view of this forum.

I had a colleague who was doing his doctorate with me and when it came to religion he constantly referred to texts and authors without really coming to terms with what his own views and thinking were. (And I'm not saying you are like that, I'm just talking about this example).

What amazed me was how he would read a block of Orthodox authors that led him to become Orthodox. As such, he started to read Catholic authors, and then he became Catholic (he was originally Anglican).

So I think we need to understand that what others write is also an interpretation and is also subjective. We need to focus on what we believe and why which is also subjective but no less legitimate.

I hope to heaven that my colleague doesn't read about the Archbishop of Canterbury becoming an honorary Druid! smile

God bless,

Alex

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