Thursday, July 24, 2014

On latinizations


A note on latinizations, in which Opus Publicum nails the psychology of online, that is, convert Greek Catholicism, a feeder for online Orthodoxy.

The church says not to latinize the Eastern rites but often, before Vatican II, Eastern Rite Catholics latinized themselves. I'm a moderate: don't introduce latinization but don't suppress it if it's old and doesn't overpower the rite. That is, I like it when it's pre-Vatican II and doesn't take over. For example, in the Byzantine Rite it's "the Divine Liturgy," but I've met plenty of Slavic Byzantine Catholics who called it Mass. There's a kind of haughty convert to the Eastern churches who looks down on us traditionalists, and often anti-Westernizes himself out of the church, so he has a chip on his shoulder about things like that, exactly what Opus Publicum is describing here.

Some of them are Catholic but thumb their noses at the magisterium, even though in many ways they're conservative, but don't become Orthodox. They think they know better than either, which says there is no church or that they are the magisterium.

The truth here is not either/or, just like the church isn't all one rite. The church has, as it should, both the unlatinized and the old latinized options.

Put another way, there's never latinizing, which the church has in mind for the Orthodox, there's pastorally sensitive de-latinization out of love for the Christian East, the positivity of the almost all convert Russian Catholics, and of the Byzantine Catholic priests I've met who were actually trained in Rome, for example, and then there's de-latinization that's done clearly to be anti-Catholic. Catholic liberals' exoticizing cousin: I've seen that weird strain in "Byzantium" on both sides of the schism (arguing for women deacons, for example).

The Maronite Church that St. Sharbel belonged to shows another, regrettable aspect in Eastern Catholicism, self-Novus Ordoization. Because, since they latinized themselves, they lost most of their own tradition, before the council. I understand Iraq's biggest church, the Chaldeans (bigger than the Nestorians they came from, unique in Eastern Catholicism) is rather similar that way, though not as extreme. The answer, again, is moderation and pastoral sensitivity.

Glad to say I've never seen Novus-like liturgical abuses at a Byzantine Catholic Liturgy. But the Ruthenians for example have a relatively weak ethnic identity plus an inferiority complex in America, being outnumbered by Roman Riters. So I've heard a story of a Cleveland area priest who, after the council, did Liturgy facing the people for a while because he thought that's what he was supposed to do, which of course it wasn't.

I've never seen Eastern altar girls but have seen pictures of them at Chaldean and even some Byzantine Rite services. Same idea as that nice priest in the story above. But it reminds me of the kind of Eastern snob who pushes for women deacons, a world away from Yiayia and the real Orthodox, thank God.

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