The Dispatch: More from CWR...

A wide-ranging, personal conversation about Eastern Catholicism

Bishop Benedict (Venedykt) of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Saint Nicholas (Chicago) at a Hierarchal Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom celebrated on July 28, 2019, at Nativity of the Mother of God Ukrainian Catholic Church in Springfield, Oregon. (Photo: Felicity Rose Olson)

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of talking with Eric Sammons, Editor of Crisis Magazine and host of Crisis Point, about my experience as an Eastern Catholic.

We touch on a number of topics—historical, theological, devotional, liturgical—but focus quite a bit on the particulars of how my wife and I were introduced to Eastern Catholicism at Nativity of the Mother of God Ukrainian Catholic Church in Springfield, Oregon. (For some of my written thoughts on the Eastern Churches, see my 2006 article titled “The Rite Not to be Roman”.)

Below is the video; you can also access an audio-only version here.

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About Carl E. Olson 1190 Articles
Carl E. Olson is editor of Catholic World Report and Ignatius Insight. He is the author of Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?, Will Catholics Be "Left Behind"?, co-editor/contributor to Called To Be the Children of God, co-author of The Da Vinci Hoax (Ignatius), and author of the "Catholicism" and "Priest Prophet King" Study Guides for Bishop Robert Barron/Word on Fire. His recent books on Lent and Advent—Praying the Our Father in Lent (2021) and Prepare the Way of the Lord (2021)—are published by Catholic Truth Society. He is also a contributor to "Our Sunday Visitor" newspaper, "The Catholic Answer" magazine, "The Imaginative Conservative", "The Catholic Herald", "National Catholic Register", "Chronicles", and other publications. Follow him on Twitter @carleolson.


  1. A fine presentation by Carl Olson, in tandem with Crisis’ Sammons of the history of Eastern rite Catholicism. Sammons raised the question of why the variety of liturgical ritual – a controversial issue in context of Custodes. Olson explains well that the rationale for liturgical diversity is the diversity of cultures. From my own experience with the Navajo, and predating Navajo conversion the Pueblo who have had the liturgy translated in their own languages by, mainly the Franciscans. Similarly in Africa the Maasai are highly diverse culturally Mass offered in Maasai incorporating their music has had success in spreading the faith. An informative discussion on the papacy and Eastern minimalism and continued questions. Reference to Lumen Gentium and an organic approach to authority, the value of subsidiarity and centralized authority seems an ongoing assessment. All in all the video discussion is a worthwhile tutorial on ecclesial diversity in liturgy and structure. Apropo views on Synodality the issue of the moment. Shooting arrows into the fog akin to Diogenes endless in search of an honest purpose. Best line. A Ukrainian Catholic church without Ukrainians [migrants the phenomenon of the day]. The dynamic of a Latin liturgy modified to accommodate Protestantism, and Protestants who convert for the richness of what was.

    • The “shooting arrows” was indeed the best line: “synodality is like shooting arrows into the fog and hoping to hit a duck for dinner.”

      Of, course, synods have been done right in the past (sticking to specific and legitimate subjects and not overreaching and undermining settled doctrine). Rather than a phased but unstructured synodality possibly drifting off into merciful obscurity…might we hope instead that this opening (such as it is) will be commandeered toward a quite different outcome than some might intend? Seized by the real Holy Spirit to embolden new apostolic leadership both inside and outside the process, even as the process itself might engage many toward the “universal call to holiness”?

      This, rather than the Holy Spirit simply being recruited toward an edited “synthesis”—a punchbowl likely adulterated by drops of cyanide, e.g., the German “synodal way”?

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