Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Absolution and more


  • The upcoming Extraordinary Year of Mercy. As harsh as I am about Pope Francis, this is nice. In a Year of Mercy, he's given priests around the world the faculty to absolve those who confess the sin of abortion (stupid media: "Pope says abortion isn't a sin") and has given the SSPX the faculty to absolve for the year. (The order claims a state of emergency supplies them with faculties.) Though at least one person has pointed out that he could just regularize the SSPX so why play games? Anyway, Fulton Sheen called this sacrament psychoanalysis on its knees, and it doesn't cause scrupulosity (excessive fear of going to hell) but is a solution (the church's teachings on the three criteria for a mortal sin, grave matter, sufficient reflection, and full consent of the will, and on the distinction between mortal and venial sins). Our close cousins the conservative Lutherans still defend its practice, and the more spiritual among high-church Anglicans adopted it. As with spiritual direction, something different, more intense, fewer Catholics do; I admit I've never done it. The sacrament is "just the facts, ma'am"; here the priest doesn't have the time to go in-depth as with spiritual direction. The Orthodox, unsurprisingly, are really just like us: the few who practice have a father confessor (similar ideal of sticking with one confessor, but they are more likely to insist on it); fewer have a "spiritual father." By the way, the booth with the screen is only a few centuries old, a practical matter so priests won't be tempted when attractive women confess things.
  • Then again, he's appointed Archbishop Marini, I think the low-church liberal in charge of St. John Paul the Overrated's liturgies, head of the Eastern-rite churches' liturgical commission. Which shows no respect for those rites. "Lord, have mercy." My first traditional Catholic Mass 30 years ago was Ukrainian.
  • Deaths have spiked on the Delaware River; here's why. People underestimate its depth and current so they swim in it and, when boating in it, don't wear life jackets.
  • Nobody's above the law: Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka charged with murder.
  • Modern education: creating people who are smart enough to accurately repeat what they're told and follow orders, and dumb enough to think this makes them smarter than everyone else. Maybe the Prussian model of schooling, which "progressives" had us adopt in the 1800s, turning people into cogs, isn't the best or only one.

11 comments:

  1. The appointment of Marini more or less says it all. Recently, I attended a Maronite Mass, if was completely novus ordo and just a few weeks ago I attended a Byzantine rite Mass in Rome, mass facing the people, altar girls, the only thing separating it from the novus ordo was the fact that it was chanted with incense. Latinization is no longer the problem in the eastern rites, but wholesale adaptation of the novus ordo is happening, especially amongst the so-called Lesser Eastern rites.

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    1. Right, the Lesser Eastern rites. That the Maronites are basically Novus Ordo (I've been, to St. Joseph's, Waterville, Maine) is relatively well known. The Chaldeans are too. I've never seen it that severely among Byzantine Riters, but I've heard of liberal Ukrainian-Canadians: liberal British country (more so than the U.S.) with the white ethnics buying into multicultural political correctness. Sort of like what the Irish thing has become in America. Not like the conservative Ukrainian Catholics you used to meet here.

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    2. Hello John. There is a Chaldean church near to where I live, but they are part of the Assyrian group that recently became Roman Catholic in the Western part of the United States, and their rite, for the time being, is very conservative. They are still, as an example, facing east and using the curtain, but one wonders how long that will last.

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  2. "I admit I've never done it". You've never been to confession???

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    1. I've never had a spiritual director.

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  3. Dale, which Church of the Byzantine rite was it you attended in Rome? Melkite, Ukrainian, Romanian, Ruthenisn or one of the others? Thank you.

    Anthony

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    1. On Sunday morning I attended Mass at the Italo-Greek church, which I fondly remember from my youth. Mass was exactly as one expects in a Greek Church, either Catholic or Orthodox, the main difference from years ago was that now much of the priest's part of the Mass was sung in Italian, whilst the cantor sang, very well by the way, the responses in Greek. There were only seven of us present. It was beautiful. In the afternoon I attended the Byzantine rite celebrated in the Basilica of Our Lady in Trastevere (I think one of the most beautiful churches in Rome), it was basically a very, very novus ordo rendition of the Byzantine liturgy, including facing the people. By the way, the first time that I ever attended a Russian-Byzantine Catholic Mass, in Zurich, Switzerland, it was sung facing the people as well. I have heard that the Romanians are beginning to celebrate facing the people on quite a large scale; but I have no personal experience of this. I did not have time to attend their church in Rome, which does offer a daily Byzantine rite mass at 6 pm. I was also shocked to find that the Russicum did not even do a vespers on Saturday evening; only a Sunday Mass.

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    2. I'm shocked by this (the Divine Liturgy in Santa Maria in Trastevere -- yes, one of the most beautiful churches in the city). My first Divine Liturgy ever was there as a college student in 1993. I went there again in 2012, and it was definitely NOT "Novus Ordinated": no altar girls, no facing the people. A very long-winded sermon given by an Italian visiting priest, but otherwise very traditional. The church is the home of the Melkites in Rome, who historically pride themselves on being close to their Orthodox brethren. Very disturbing news.

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    3. Dale, was the Italo-Greek Church you attended the one near the Spanish Steps? I went to Divine Liturgy there in 2008. I'm unpleasantly
      surprised the other Divine Liturgy you went to was facing the people. Also, I'm shocked that the Russian Catholic DL in Zurich was facing the people, as they tend to be the most consciously Orthodox of all the Byzantine Rite Catholic Churches when it comes to liturgical matters.

      Anthony

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  4. Yes, the Italo-Greek parish, which is connected to the Greek College is the one near the Spanish Steps. Liturgy is wonderful there, well celebrated, well chanted and with a real, albeit very small congregation.

    When I was a seminarian, years ago in Paris, at that time one of the churches in Paris was celebrating a very Byzantinized novus ordo, complete with women deacons, in full Byzantine deacon's vestments, none of them was of course ordained, but much use of incense, byzantine hymnology etc. but facing the people, well in the round since the altar had been moved to the center of the building. The overall effect was quite disturbing and very, very modernist with an eastern flare. It would have been better had such parishes, which obviously saw the defects of the modern rite, simply adopt the traditional Latin Mass in the vernacular, but that is forbidden.

    But the celebrating the Byzantine liturgy with novus ordo rubrics is actually quite widespread, and amongst virtually all of the other eastern rites, the normal procedure. In our local Greek Catholic parish, although the altar is east facing and the parish does have an ikonostasis, the priest often comes into the center of the church and stands in the center with the chalice and diskos and sings the Words of Institution in that position, holding up the chalice and diskos. The parish also has several Sundays a year when communion is given to the congregation at the altar. The people process through the Royal Doors and receive like clergy at the altar itself. There are of course, women servers.

    I have never been opposed to the traditional Latin practices that have crept into Greek Catholicism in the past, these were often traditions practiced by generations of believers; and actually, I know most of these traditions not from Greek Catholicism, but from my Mother's Orthodox parish. But the adaptation of the novus ordo is problematic. At least for me, since I very much question the validity of the 'New" rite.

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  5. Anthony, here is a youtube of the Byzantine service in Santa Maria, one can see, towards the end that, as on the Sunday that I attended, ot is celebrated facing the people.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xaUF5MfOFg0

    There are, for those of us who know the liturgy, other issues with this small clip. that were also evident when I was there. As an example, from this clip: all of the clergy are in Russian style vestments, but the great entrance is done almost in the Greek manner, but the thurifer should not be censing the processional cross, but the chalice and diskos (effectively standing not in front of the cross, but behind it and the candle bearers); in the Russian tradition, the elements are not censed the censer is only carried. The whole liturgy was full of these types of mistakes. It is basically only a show for tourists.

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