Sunday, May 03, 2015

When Byzantine Riters make excuses for the Novus Ordo


Byzantine Riters praising Roman Riters' modernizations? From the tradition whose liturgical practice in its pure form is medieval (that's a compliment), with the services droning in song for literally hours while the congregation comes and goes, or tunes in and out, following along, doing devotions, or socializing? (Fr. Serge [Keleher], on Russian Orthodoxy: "This ancient and vast tradition is entirely Catholic.") Where minor ritual changes caused a schism in Russia and calendar-based splits (the Greek Orthodox adopted the Gregorian calendar in the '20s), both still going on? Bizarre but true at least in some quarters.
  • On Western Rite Orthodoxy, part 1 and part 2. Fr. Chadwick's posts on the subject.
  • “Two different traditions — One Catholic Church.” The first pane compares the Roman Rite Today — note that “today” — and the Byzantine Rite Today. "The Roman Rite Today" just about emptied our American parishes. This stupid illustration is from well-meaning Greek Rite Catholics trying to be loyal. I've seen this illustration. Great advertising: for Orthodoxy! Most Orthodox have had the sense not to modernize, so their Slavic-American heartland parishes, often literally ex-Catholic, seem almost like our parishes 50 years ago. (Married priests and semi-congregational polity: nothing wrong with either. In that department I would do anything to end that schism here, except give up the papacy.) Actually, Conciliar Press and some other Orthodox publish stuff almost exactly like that bad poster but to use against us. But the liberal ecumenical Orthodox praise the Novus Ordo vs. our (traditional "Latin," Tridentine) Mass, because the Novus Ordo has a descending epiclesis and a few other tweaks. Which makes them look foolish. Both arguments, from their respective schools of thought in Orthodoxy, fail because of the obvious: their liturgy is as medieval as our Mass, its clear analogue even though it evolved separately. (Why Roman Rite refugees after Vatican II feel at home at Greek Catholic parishes.) Comparing the Byzantine Liturgy to the Novus Ordo is comparing apples and oranges; comparing it to our Mass is the only way to be fair to Western Catholicism here. The Orthodox' Western Rite experiments either use our Mass as their base (varying byzantinizations) or make up liturgies (sometimes Anglican-based: prayers by the Non-Jurors, etc.); neither is Novus Ordo-based. (Western Rite Orthodoxy is self-limiting/doomed because the Orthodox don't really want it; anti-Westernism is their reason to exist outside the church.) By the way, from the liberal camp in Orthodoxy that loves the Novus Ordo in theory, some churchmen in Greece are playing with having the Liturgy (Mass) facing the people, in front of the iconostasis (pictured). You can do the traditional Roman Mass facing the people; few did. Places like St. Peter's, Rome did at the high altar not to face the people but because the altar literally faces east but the church doesn't. A reminder: mother church offers both unlatinized (the original plan for Greek Catholics: be just like the Orthodox) and latinized (the Greek Catholics latinized themselves) forms of the Greek Rite, and that's great. Neither is modern.
  • Former Communist spy: KGB created Catholic liberation theology. Of course the priests in the Sandinista government in Nicaragua were Reds.

41 comments:

  1. These days I prefer the Novus Ordo to what passes for "Tridentine" liturgy among traditionalists. I now worship in a Byzantine (Orthodox) parish.

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    1. You touch on a good point: this pro-Novus Ordo line from some Orthodox is just a "nicer" form of Orthodox anti-Westernism. Relatively nicer than calling us graceless (complete frauds) like their hardliners do, but my point is by taking that side, the liberals are sawing off the branch they're sitting on (Orthodox liturgy is as traditional and medieval as ours).

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    2. Let's say I prefer the Liturgia Horarum to what was left of the Roman Breviary by 1962. And Paul VI restored a lot of stuff that was abolished by Pius XII, or abolished or disused in the Roman Rite for centuries (permanent, married deacons, concelebration and communion under both kinds, to name just three praiseworthy reforms). I'd have reformed the rites differently myself but I'm not a careerist bureaucrat in the Roman curia. In fact, for some weeks I've been working on a project entitled "what the Roman Rite should look like." It will never be used and my guess is that it would be to nobody's liking but a few cranks like me. A good way to occupy my spare time, though, and I have lots of that.

      I suppose it depends upon one's notion of what constitutes "traditional." I would argue that there is very little mediaeval left in the so-called "traditional Roman rite" that hasn't passed unscathed through the Roman dicastery saw mills. To-day, for example, is the feast of the Finding of the Holy Cross, a feast of considerable antiquity celebrated in both East and West (even in the Church of England). But it was abolished by Pius XII. Which is right? Which is traditional? To follow the pope, "petrus," the rock (and rocks aren't really supposed to be going anywhere or doing anything), or to adhere to what was, for centuries, fixed on this date?

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    3. "(permanent, married deacons, concelebration and communion under both kinds, to name just three praiseworthy reforms)."

      Then you'd certainly like the Ordinariate mass then. I went to it in London this morning. A concelebrant as well as a married deacon along with the celebrant priest, all facing liturgical East. Hieratic language throughout (including "sitteth at the right hand of the Father"). Communion in both kinds whilst kneeling at the altar rail.

      I spoke with the married deacon during the after-mass coffee hour. He was a CofE priest but effectively he's a permanent deacon because he is a judge, and holding public office is at present an impediment to priestly ordination.

      A very friendly community, and it was interesting to meet an "ordinarian" (that's what they call them) who is studying to become a priest for the Our Lady of the Southern Cross Ordinariate, an ex-Muslim from Jakarta.

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    4. (I think my last response was lost, so I'll try again.)

      Jesus explicitly said He was founding His Church upon Peter the Rock. He never said He was founding it upon this or that liturgical feast, not matter how ancient or venerable.

      (And yes, He meant Peter, who is inseparable from His confession in any case. As the late and immensely learned Father Jaki observed, you have to twist Matthew 16: 18-19 into a syntactical pretzel in order to force it to yield the usual polemical Protestant and Orthodox interpretations.)

      I'll stick with Peter and his barque, thank you very much. Endless battles over liturgical minutiae do nothing but poison the mind and numb the soul.

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    5. James C, I have no time for altar rails. Albeit Archbishop Laud the Martyr installed them in the English Church to safeguard the chancels from profane practices but in Rome they just have the practical purpose of dishing out communion to kneeling communicants very quickly. It has very little to do with reverence. If it were, the chancel and quire screens would never have been dismantled!

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    6. Patricius, I daresay you have no time for anything or anyone. Does this lack of charity help or hinder you in your quest for holiness?

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    7. Let's try to keep ad hominem out of this blog.

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    8. James C., quite the contrary, I have time for everyone because I am queer (and lonely).

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    9. Ok, I now want to hug you. It's a Mama Thing.

      But seriously...you are in your 20s, right? That is a tough age, but things do get better, I promise you.

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    10. Apologies. The writer has a habit of mocking St John Paul II's Parkinson's disease, referring to Benedict XVI as a homosexual, and damning Pius XII to hellfire---among other things. So my comment was not meant as an insult or attack.

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    11. "Jesus explicitly said He was founding His Church upon Peter the Rock. He never said He was founding it upon this or that liturgical feast, not matter how ancient or venerable."

      Orthodox Christians affirm that a rock ought to remain stable, not roll with the times. Is a rock that constantly rolls (moves and changes), displaying the characteristics of a rock?

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    12. "Endless battles over liturgical minutiae do nothing but poison the mind and numb the soul."

      No doubt. How about reading John Sanidopolous's blog, Mystagogy, in order to learn about the saints and ancient Christian life and not for polemical ammo against a traditional Christian Church?

      (http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/ if you are interested!)

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    13. blogger, but the first liturgical revolution in history was that of the Russian Church in 1666, which destroyed a more ancient Byzantine tradition replacing it with modern Greek forms. A short study of the Old Believer schism, and their bitter 300 year persecution by the Russian state and state Church, is fascinating reading.

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    14. Blogger, take it up with Jesus. He was the One Who founded His Church upon Peter the Rock. (Yes, the same Peter who later denied Him three times.)

      If it was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for me. All your highly selective and tendentious potshots notwithstanding. Unless you are Jesus, those potshots carry no weight. I'll stick with Jesus, thank you.

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  2. Isn't this a picture of the celebration of the Liturgy of St. James? It does look like it. I remember at my parish the Melkites who use our Temple celebrated the Liturgy of St. James and the liturgy took place outside the Holy Place in the nave.

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    1. Maybe. I don't have the link right now but I did read that the Greek Orthodox are playing with versus populum, rather like hip Orthodox like the idea of women deacons. I think some of their liberals will go so far to spite Western Catholicism (just like their conservatives: "If it's not Greek/Russian/etc., it's crap!") AND try to get the mainstream West to like them (their old ethnocentrism repackaged as "diversity") that they'll essentially turn into Episcopalians, just as they now sound Pelagian about original sin, Lutheran about the Eucharist, and libertine about divorce and remarriage and about contraception. Call them on it and they turn pseudo-mystical: "It's an Eastern thing; you Westerners wouldn't understand."

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  3. I had a ROCOR monk once tell me just as Christ is fully man and fully God, the Eucharist is fully Body and Blood of Christ and fully bread and wine. He was basically espousing the Lutheran concept of consubstantiation and trying to compare it to the Chalcedonian definition of Christ's two natures. He even said transubstantiation is like a Monophysite conception of the Eucharist. I never heard such ridiculous nonsense to justify the heresy of consubstantiation. I have also read some online Orthodox who say Pelagius was right and St Augustine was a heretic. Which is just anti-Catholic bullcrap.

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    1. Thanks for the confirmation; I wasn't imagining things or making them up. Here's the thing: all of Orthodox defined doctrine is Catholic but there is very little of it. For example, they've never defined the Mass but never officially denied it; obviously from the rite and culture, they have the Mass. The Pelagians and Lutherans among them, among others, have never managed to call an ecumenical council to denounce us as heretics, so we give the Orthodox the benefit of the doubt. They're not heretics; they're estranged Catholics.

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    2. "And sitteth on the right hand of the Father" would appear to contradict the doctrine of transubstantiation.

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    3. "And sitteth on the right hand of the Father" would appear to contradict the doctrine of transubstantiation.

      He can't be more than one place at once? What a minuscule god you must worship!

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    4. Sounds Protestant: "He is in heaven; he is not here."

      That God in his entirety is not on the holy table in the altar when the priest does the consecration would be shocking news to ethnic Orthodox.

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    5. I never said I didn't believe in the real presence!

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    6. So you're learning to be Byzantine Orthodox. The blogger at Perceptio (A Real Live One), linked in the original post here, is right that it takes a lifetime to learn a rite. So I imagine Liturgiae Causa will have much on the Byzantine Rite from now on. Obviously we don't agree about the church but I think we can agree that this observation about learning a rite is true. I believe some Roman Rite Catholics are called to change to an Eastern rite; Metropolitan Andrew (Sheptytsky), a Polish count who became head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, should be the patron saint for such who become Byzantine.

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    7. I think a Liturgiae Causa blog that spends its time discussing the treasures of Byzantine liturgy, as well as the work of that noted Papist JRR Tolkien, would be very fine indeed.

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    8. "He can't be more than one place at once?"

      This is as good an example as any of how Swiss Reformation thinking (reference Zwingli and Bullinger and, on this matter, Calvin) as opposed to that of the Lutherans, was taken up by and in the Church of England. It was affirmed explicitly in Article 29 of the 42 Articles of 1552, but omitted in the 1563 revision which produced the 39 Articles.

      Btw, the Orthodox "Liturgy facing the people" linked here:

      http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2013/06/the-divine-liturgy-of-serapion.html

      purports to be a celebration of the "Liturgy of St. Serapion of Thmuis" - but what evidence is there that this liturgy was celebrated "facing the people" as opposed to "facing East?" I know of none.

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    9. I once tried to have a conversation with an ROCOR priest about the Eucharist, what a waste of time. He was not even Lutheran, but very much within the Reformed tradition of receptionism. He attacked the Corpus Christi processions and Benediction because Christ is only present in the Eucharist when we receive him! I am not joking. I mentioned that the pre-Sanctified Liturgy has both a procession as well as Benediction with the Blessed Sacrament, his only response was that was all right because it was in preparation to be received; I mentioned, if one has Benediction and the priest then consumes the elements, this would make it all right in his opinion? He simply stated that I was a Roman Catholic and not worthy of a serious theological conversation (By the way, I am not know, have never been, and never will be a Roman Catholic,since, if Diane is correct the Church was founded upon Peter and Antioch was founded by Peter, well one of the Patriarchs of Antioch must be the true head of the church!). This type semi-Protestant, if even semi-Protestant, it seems to be full blown Protestant, view of Eucharistic theology is now very much advanced in Byzantium. When I mentioned that St Peter Mohila actually uses the term "transubstantiation" as do the older liturgical books published by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of the United States his only reply was that S Peter Mohila was a Roman Catholic! This might come as quite a surprise to the Ukrainian Orthodox by the way.

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    10. Dr. Tighe,

      Thanks for linking to John Sanidopolos Mystagogy blog. Last Fall, Mr. Sanidopolos ran a very informative series on how some liturgical renovationists are using the celebration of the Divine Liturgy of St. James in order to promote their modern Roman Catholic-influenced liturgical ideas in the Orthodox Church. The link is here:

      http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2014/10/the-liturgy-of-saint-james-trojan-horse.html

      (the other six installments are listed in nearly consecutive order on the Mystagogy blog).

      Let it be known that Orthodox Christians are not ignorant of various, unofficial questionable liturgical activities in the Orthodox Church. However, Orthodoxy retains the traditional sense not to become an apostle for such actions through official liturgical and canonical reform. This respect for traditional commitments speaks to something traditional and holy in the Orthodox Faith that cannot be reasonably ignored by other Christians.

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    11. Dale,

      I once heard of a Roman Catholic priest who said that sin is in the eye of the beholder. I once read about Roman Catholic priests telling others that women's ordination is desirable. I once knew of a Roman Catholic monk who believed that Buddhists and Catholics shared the same essential faith.

      We have both heard and read a lot of bunk.

      Please use the good judgment to know that neither Catholicism or Orthodoxy is a theological democracy. If you do not have doctrinal, canonical, or sacramental changes in Orthodoxy to point to, please quit trying to turn unofficial, individual statements into some sort of statement about Orthodox Faith. It's cheap and tawdry, and most importantly - a distraction.

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    12. Why don't you just join the legion of other schismatic bloggers with, as Gabriel Sanchez once put it, lots of icons, pictures of beards, and unctuous quotations?

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    13. Blogger: The difference is that we have the Magisterium. Any Catholic who wonders whether his priest is spouting heresy can easily find the answer just by checking the Catechism. Orthodox have no such definitive authority to appeal to. Their bishops will give them varying answers, and so will their interpreters of the Canons and Fathers.

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    14. Blogger, hearing about such priests is one thing; I actually had conversations with such priests, the one in question is now part of the so-called committee of the western rite in the Russian Russian Church outside of Russia. But then, one must admit that seminary training in the Russian Russian Church usually involves leaning Russian tradition, language and culture, and very little theology; unless one considers hatred of the west to be a theology.

      The theological position of Byzantine Orthodoxy is all over the place; they cannot even agree to what constitutes a valid baptism, one may go to one church and they will demand complete rebaptism, remarriage etc. and across the street, one can be received simply through confession. Not too long ago ROCOR was actually re-baptising "converts" from the Moscow Patriarchate in the London Cathedral. It is all pretty much a personal opinion thing. Much like your attitude towards the Oriental Orthodox. The same with the acceptance of holy orders.

      The Byzantine attitudes towards the Real Presence in the Eucharist has undergone drastic changes since I was in seminary; going from the fairly solid theology of S Peter Mohila to a very Protestant interpretation. And, I can assure you, this is not limited to a few select clergy.

      "Let it be known that Orthodox Christians are not ignorant of various, unofficial questionable liturgical activities in the Orthodox Church: unfortunately, for this song-and-dance,the liturgy celebrated in question was celebrated by a canonical Orthodox bishop, not some flake.

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    15. Patrick, you are reading too many konvertzi Byzantine books, which usually are not only badly written, but have very little to do with what the Orthodox actually believe and practice. How does the Saviour sitting at the Right Hand of God the Father have anything to do with the doctrine, believed by many, many Orthodox, of Transubstantiation?

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    16. "Blogger, hearing about such priests is one thing; I actually had conversations with such priests"

      I have had my share of disturbing conversations with Roman Catholic priests, as well.

      "The Byzantine attitudes towards the Real Presence in the Eucharist has undergone drastic changes since I was in seminary; going from the fairly solid theology of S Peter Mohila to a very Protestant interpretation. And, I can assure you, this is not limited to a few select clergy."

      I have not encountered a Protestant conception of the Holy Eucharist in the Orthodox Church. I cannot speak for your personal experience, but the charge that there has been an evolution of the Eucharistic doctrine (or any doctrine) of the Orthodox Church is a strange observation that is certainly not reflected in the lived experience of Orthodox Christians.

      Interestingly, you even seem to affirm the non-Protestant nature of Orthodox teaching on the Holy Eucharist when you state in your later comment that Orthodoxy holds to the "doctrine, believed by many, many Orthodox, of Transubstantiation." Apparently, the supposed Protestant "evolution," of Orthodox teaching, to which you alluded earlier has been checked in its spread and influence.

      In any case, even if your strange observation about Orthodox Eucharistic doctrine were accurate, it would have no power to bind the Orthodox Church since Orthodoxy is governed by Holy Tradition as reflected in her ancient canonical, liturgical, and governmental structure, all of which confirms the ancient Orthodox Catholic Faith on the Holy Eucharist. Appeals to individual deviations only has currency among Protestants who are governed by consensus, not among Orthodox and Roman Catholic Christians who are technically governed by Holy Tradition expressed through canonical, liturgical, and governmental tradition.

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    17. "Blogger: The difference is that we have the Magisterium. Any Catholic who wonders whether his priest is spouting heresy can easily find the answer just by checking the Catechism. Orthodox have no such definitive authority to appeal to. Their bishops will give them varying answers, and so will their interpreters of the Canons and Fathers."

      This response doesn't do justice to Church history. For example, in 1483, Pope Sixtus IV promulgated the bull, Grave nimis, which required both those who accepted and those who opposed the Immaculate Conception of Mary to "agree to disagree," thus resolving a harsh theological controversy in the Western Church, while at the same time introducing a lack of doctrinal clarity at the very heart of the papal magisterium. Between 1483 until Pius IX declared the Immaculate Conception of Mary as a dogma in 1854, the Roman Catholic who desired to hold to the correct teaching on the conception of Mary was required to depend upon Holy Tradition, not the papal magisterium for guidance. This episode indicates that the source of all episcopal teaching is in fidelity to Holy Tradition, not automatic dependence upon one teacher of that Tradition.

      Likewise, the long unresolved (at that time) medieval scholastic debate on whether perfect contrition was essential for the valid reception of the Sacrament of Penance is another example of how the papal magisterium cannot constantly function as a practical and handy replacement for simply maintaining and preserving the Orthodox Catholic Faith through episcopal teaching and joint clergy-lay preservation of the Holy Tradition. Let the Pope of Rome teach Holy Tradition, but do not let his teaching authority be touted as a compendium of Holy Tradition that constantly conveys to the faithful the totality of Holy Tradition, because this is historically inaccurate.

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    18. "Why don't you just join the legion of other schismatic bloggers with, as Gabriel Sanchez once put it, lots of icons, pictures of beards, and unctuous quotations?"

      To paraphrase Dorothy Day - I don't want to be dismissed that easily.

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    19. "unfortunately, for this song-and-dance,the liturgy celebrated in question was celebrated by a canonical Orthodox bishop, not some flake"

      I was not referring to the Divine Liturgy that John mentioned in his post since I do not know enough of the circumstances behind this admittedly unique celebration to react either positively or negatively to its form of celebration. (However, it should be noted that whatever was occurring in this celebration was very exceptional in Orthodoxy.) I was rather referring to clear examples of liturgical abuse, which do occur in Orthodoxy and are in clear violation of the typicon and canons of the Orthodox Catholic Church.

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  4. I've just read an article on the topic of Russian anticatholicism. The Russian Church in 1690 condemned the Eucharistic devotions implemented by Orthodox archbishop Peter Mohila in the churches of his diocese as "bread idolatry". Then the fact that the Orthodox were ruled by the Russian sovereign for over 200 years as the Church of England is today and the whole Third Rome theory.

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    1. Do you have a link to this article? Sounds very interesting.

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    2. The article is in Polish in the "Miłujcie się magazine." The newest English version of the magazine "Love one another" doesn't have the article translated. Maybe the next edition of the English version will have it as the majority of articles in it are translated from Polish.

      http://www.loamagazine.org/nr/contents/contents_loa30.html

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    3. Niby, thanks for the heads up, but please, that should be SAINT Peter Mohila!

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