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Wes Callihan Apologizes for Writing "Presumptuous Propositions"

Dear Patrick,

Thank you for responding so quickly. I'll try not to be long-winded here.

I should never have written that article [“Presumptuous Icons”] in Credenda/Agenda. You said in your article, “That Mr. Callihan’s argument arises from careless, perhaps willful ignorance of Orthodoxy has been relatively easy to demonstrate.” You were quite right. I was ignorant. Not willfully but certainly carelessly. I knew nothing about Orthodoxy but what I’d quickly read in a couple of short books and I didn’t understand the issues at all, nor did I try very hard.

You also said, "Therefore, in considering how to respond to Mr. Callihan we do not assume that our reasoning will ultimately sway him unless and until the foundational questions of 'What is the Church?' and 'Where is the Church?'—questions that are integrally related to the subject of truth—are resolved." Those questions have occupied my studies more deeply over the past couple of years than any others, and I understand now why you said this.

And finally, you said, "We can only encourage him to read the works cited herein and seriously reflect upon what we have said. To do otherwise and remain an iconoclast would indeed be the height of presumption." Again, you were quite right.

I've started: over the past two years I've read Ware's "The Orthodox Church," Sherrard's "The Greek East and Latin West," Schmemann's "For the Life of the World" (and begun his "The Historical Road of Eastern Orthodoxy"), Schaeffer's "Dancing Alone" (sorry, but I hated that one!), Gilguist's "Becoming Orthodox," lots of Athanasius, Nyssa, Nazianzen, John of Damascus, some Gregory Palamas, and more or less of many others. I read them all as carefully as I could and loved them all (except Schaeffer's, but I'd love to meet him—I'll bet he's a terrific guy).

Although I cannot honestly say I believe I will join the Orthodox Church, I've come to love a great deal of what I've learned about Orthodoxy. But the real point of this letter is that I am deeply sorry that I wrote such an ignorant article about things about which I knew nothing and had no right to speak. I needed to write you and let you know this, since you had taken the trouble to respond to my foolishness; and I want you to know that I would be willing to offer a public retraction on your website if you like.



Wesley J. Callihan
Schola Classical Tutorials

Received in an email dated 29 Feb, 2006. Posted on 10 Mar, 2006 (n.s.).