Fr. Michael, Saint Petroc Magazine, Vol. III, No. 2, July 2000
Western Rite Orthodoxy is undoubtedly part and parcel of the One Holy Orthodox Catholic Church. We are inextricably bound up in Orthodoxy. We cannot and will not be disentangled from Orthodoxy. But, where are we going?
Western Rite Orthodoxy is a child of great promise within the Orthodox family. Given time, love and care, it could grow into a valuable contributor to Orthodox society. What is needed is vision. Saint John (Maximovitch) had such vision. He could see a future in which Western Rite Orthodoxy was restored to retake its rightful place in the family home. We need that vision to be revived in the Church, not just in one or two countries, in a Metropolitanate here and an Archdiocese there, but widely.
Most of us are barely capable of seeing what is directly in front of us. We have no idea how long we must plan for in the earthly Church. We may have very little time, or we may have a millenium. It really doesn't matter. Part of our good work of loving our neighbours is to make provision for neighbours yet unborn. So, we plan new Parishes and make provision for the future work of the Church, spreading the knowledge and love of God.
Western Rite Orthodoxy is integral to the Church's mission of spreading the Word of God. We have been given a tool which enables us to work with people who might not respond otherwise.
More than that, we have a present opportunity. Western society is in a state of spiritual turmoil. We have the only true answer for those in Western society who will hear. We must therefore act with a sense of urgency. When we delay, souls proceed without hearing the message, we fail in our duty to God, and we fail to love our neighbour.
God has given us this tool to use, to speak to our people and we will answer for having failed to use it. We cannot bury this tool in the garden and then produce it on the Day of Judgment, hoping to be praised for having preserved it. We must take it out into the world and use it - with energy and vision - as Saint John of Shanghai did.