Sunday, July 12, 2015

Which church is both Eastern and Western, really?

On those "What church should you belong to?" online quizzes my answers always include the Christian East so they tell me I should be Orthodox, because the writers of the quizzes don't know that Catholicism is Eastern as well as Western.
Despite the existence of the "Western Rite," I do not believe the same can be said about the Eastern Orthodox.
Right you are. I try to always be honest; I personally am trying to make the Orthodox a bonafide offer to have them come back. (The Byzantine Rite beats the Novus Ordo hands down.) 98% of Catholics are Roman Rite, and SOMETIMES the Eastern rites haven't been treated fairly. (But actually most latinizations aren't maltreatment; they're the Eastern Catholics' choice, against Rome's wishes.) That said, the Ukrainian, Melkite, and Malankarese Catholic churches, to give three good-sized examples, are clearly real: organic, generational Eastern communities. Frankly, the Orthodox think Byzantium IS the church (we DON'T think the Roman Rite IS the church); they obviously don't want the Western Rite so it's artificial, stunted, and doomed. No centuries-old community.


  1. It is interesting that you defend Eastern Catholicism as a hallmark of the Church's catholicity, while you generally eschew personal conversions to Catholicism in place of corporate reunion. Isn't the modern Roman Catholic drive for corporate reunion of Orthodoxy and Catholicism, as well as papal and episcopal affirmations of the sisterhood of the two Churches, a tacit admission that Rome lacks an Eastern component that Eastern Catholicism simply does not fill?

    1. First, a note on recent Catholic policy with roots going back many years. We're trying for corporate reunion, so individual conversions aren't the direct objective. We are not trying to break up your community or destroy your rite. But of course we accept such conversions, because we're the church: as the late Catholic layman-turned-Orthodox priest-turned-Catholic priest Fr. Serge (Keleher) said, we receive former Orthodox quietly.

      So, you ask, why this plan? Are we really saying we aren't the church after all? So we're really indifferentists? Of course not.

      We are doing this because we believe the best way to get these millions of estranged Catholics back is to preserve their communities, including their national churches, and because their rite is good.

      Is any one rite necessary? No. Are good rites worth preserving and promoting? Absolutely. We don't need the Byzantine Rite or the Tridentine Mass; we need at least one rite with the same content as those and others.

      Our belief that we are the church, so we accept conversions, and that your rite and others are good are why there are Eastern Catholic churches. Waiting for the rest of the East to come home. Also, they are real Eastern communities not necessarily related to you: the Ruthenians and Ukrainians are churches unto themselves that don't want to be under the Russians, even if Russia returns to the church, and the Maronites are sui generis, I think originally an uncanonical offshoot of the Syrian Church.

  2. (But actually most latinizations aren't maltreatment; they're the Eastern Catholics' choice, against Rome's wishes.)

    This is not true historically. Some Popes have encouraged Latinizations, Pope Gregory XIII, for instance urged the gradual discouragement of Communion under both species amongst the Maronites. Other popes, have approved of certain Latinizations like the approval of Pope Benedict XIV of the decision of a local synod of Ruthenians to forbid the zeon. In Allatae Sunt, Benedict XIV does not absolutely forbid Latinization, but rather says that it must be done with his approval. Benedict XIV also pushes in the same Encylical for the adoption of the new calendar, saying that the use of the old is only "tolerated" and only temporarily. Benedict XIV also cites the example of Clement VIII in also pushing for the adoption of the new calendar.

    1. I wrote most, not all. Much of the time it was approving things the Eastern Catholics chose, such as at that Ruthenian synod.


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