My name is John A. Monaco, and I am a doctoral student in theology. Welcome to Roman Orthodoxy, a traditional Catholic blog on faith, life, and culture. My previous blog, InflammateOmnia, was designed as a basic tool for my own personal reflections. If you previously followed me from those days and are interested in those things you may have read before, know that I have left some of the former posts up. Like most bloggers, I began something that I paid less and less attention to, and instead of reviving the old blog, I realized my purposes and goals have changed since I first began blogging in 2011. You will often hear corporations and companies talk about “re-branding”; in my case, I would call it “reforming”. First, I have been working on reforming myself as an individual—putting to death those things which separate me from the LORD and true love of neighbor, discarding the “old self” and embracing the new self, one constantly in need of renewal (Col 3:5-11). Second, the reformation of my work: having taken a significant break in writing (aside from necessary school assignments) and turning more to reading and listening. One of the pitfalls of a zealous religionist is that he or she often speaks freely and frequently. In the past, I thought I had the answers to many topics, ranging from spirituality to political theory, and did not shy away from broadcasting those thoughts. And while I certainly have received a rigorous scholastic and academic training in the realms of philosophy & theology, the more I learned led me to realize how much I simply do not know. So instead of using this blog as an instrument of pontification, I hope it will be more of a tool for exploration.
So, what is Roman Orthodoxy? On one hand, it can refer to the “right-worship” (and subsequently, belief) of Roman Christianity. I was raised Roman Catholic since birth (baptized at the age of 11… days) and the vast majority of my personal experiences have been shaped by my Roman Catholic upbringing. Although I am now canonically an Eastern Catholic, I have nothing but respect and awe for the Roman Catholic tradition. When I hear “Roman Orthodoxy”, I think of it being a description of sound doctrine and traditional, reverent worship in the Roman Catholic Church, something that unfortunately is not a ‘given’ in today’s world. On the other hand, the phrase can also perk ears: “Roman Orthodoxy? Don’t you mean, Roman Catholicism? Eastern Orthodoxy is another thing!” However, if any of the Church Fathers visited Earth today, they would not see any contradiction between the titles of the “Catholic” and the “Orthodox” Church. Indeed, even today, official documents of the Orthodox Church (as well as the Creed) identifies itself with the “Catholic” Church. In these days of denominationalism, the term “Roman Orthodoxy” comes across as a tertium quid, a third thing between a fusion of Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy. I am not, of course, advocating for such a thing. But for the Church of the first millennium, “Roman” referred to more than simply the Eternal City. It referred also to the Roman Empire, the capital of which was relocated to Byzantium, in modern-day Turkey. Greek-speaking Christians of the Eastern half of the Roman Empire considered themselves “Roman”, and rightly so. Roman Orthodoxy, then, can be seen as a movement within the Catholic and Orthodox Churches to see their common heritage and honor legitimate diversities. More can be said regarding this proposal, but for now, let me explain the purpose of this blog.
I intend to use this blog as a journal of sorts. While this is not an ‘academic’ space in and of itself, I hope that some insights from my time spent studying and reflecting upon theology will be fruitful. While not everyone is able to pursue a formal theological education, theology is not simply for a select few. If you are searching for theological or philosophical reflections, perhaps this can be your new home. In addition to theological musings, I also plan on writing on the following topics: history, culture, philosophy, and spirituality. I do not claim expertise in any or every one of these disciplines, obviously. But I believe that these subjects are worth talking about, at the very least. The most common genre of writing, for me, is the essay. That said, I am open to writing in poetry, fiction, or journal-like entries. For those more attuned to audio, you can find a link to my podcast on the sidebar. A YouTube channel is also in-the-works.
This blog is intended to be a resource for you in your journey of faith. Those interested in this blog will most likely be members of the Catholic Church (both Latin and the various Eastern Churches) or the Orthodox Church (both Chalcedonian and non-Chalcedonian). But, of course, all are welcome to read and join in the conversation. Let me know what you find most or least helpful. You may write to me via the “Contact” tab. Please pray for me, and know I will do the same for you.