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Role of the Catholic Church #391596 02/27/13 05:18 AM
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Slavipodvizhnik Offline OP
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As many of you know, I am quite active on the various Orthodox discussion groups, ranging from metanoia to hard core polemical sites. In perusing the boards today, I came across this comment from one of the more frequent posters on that particular board:

" The Roman Church has been the bulwark against evil in the world. We Orthodox are (or should be) the bulwark for Rome. I don’t think we Orthodox realize how much our Latin brothers look to us for steadiness. Our liturgical integrity is a big part that."

My question is, is this true?

Re: Role of the Catholic Church [Re: Slavipodvizhnik] #391615 02/27/13 09:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Slavipodvizhnik
As many of you know, I am quite active on the various Orthodox discussion groups, ranging from metanoia to hard core polemical sites. In perusing the boards today, I came across this comment from one of the more frequent posters on that particular board:

" The Roman Church has been the bulwark against evil in the world. We Orthodox are (or should be) the bulwark for Rome. I don’t think we Orthodox realize how much our Latin brothers look to us for steadiness. Our liturgical integrity is a big part that."

My question is, is this true?



I think the first idea--that the Catholic Church stands as a bulwark against evil in the modern world--is true (not that many of its members aren't contributing to that evil from time to time).

As to the assertion that Roman Catholics look to the Orthodox to keep them straight, I don't think so. I think the vast majority of Catholics (at least Latin Rite Catholics) rarely, if ever, consider the Orthodox Church at all, much less do they look to her for guidance and strength.

Should we? Yes, I think Roman Catholics should be much, much more aware of our Orthodox sister Churches; there is a great deal we can learn from them, to be sure. But do Catholics, by and large, look to the Orthodox as an example? No, I don't think so.

That having been said, are there sensitive, educated, and informed Catholics and Catholic prelates who are keenly aware of Orthodoxy's capacity to positively influence Catholicism? Yes, certainly. There can be no denying that.


Re: Role of the Catholic Church [Re: Slavipodvizhnik] #391617 02/27/13 11:06 PM
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At least around here, Latins are unfortunately not very aware of Orthodoxy (or Eastern Catholicism).

Low-church Protestantism is viewed as either the primary competition, or as the primary model on how to "be American."

Sometimes intra-Latin Catholic polemics will cite the experience of Eastern Christianity ... either dishonestly cherry-picked by modernists, or more accurately cherry-picked by traditionalists.

In fairness, the relationship between Orthodoxy and Catholicism is much more complicated than between Protestantism and Catholicism - and it appears much more foreign (even though it's not) - so it's likely just too much of a head-scratcher for your average busy Mass-goer with a job and family.

Same with Eastern Catholicism. I know some people (Latin Catholic and Protestant) who can't wrap their heads around the idea that my parish is Catholic.

Last edited by Booth; 02/27/13 11:06 PM.
Re: Role of the Catholic Church [Re: Slavipodvizhnik] #391619 02/27/13 11:19 PM
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I would say it depends on who you ask.

I agree with RI that the average Roman Catholic layman in North America is only vaguely aware of the existance of the Orthodox Church.

I would say that one needs to discern a bit more deeply. Those in Rome who sometimes feel as if the Catholic Church stands alone against evil in the world do see the Orthodox Church as a powerful ally in the fight against evil.

As to liturgical integrity being the steadfastness of Orthodoxy, I would agree. But I'm not sure that many in Rome would have considered this.

Re: Role of the Catholic Church [Re: Slavipodvizhnik] #391622 02/28/13 12:28 AM
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[quote]"The Roman Church has been the bulwark against evil in the world. We Orthodox are (or should be) the bulwark for Rome. I don’t think we Orthodox realize how much our Latin brothers look to us for steadiness. Our liturgical integrity is a big part that."

My question is, is this true? [/quote]

Alexandr:

I have to agree with the posters who mention the average Mass-goer, the average RC in the pew. However, I've had the opportunity to talk with many clergy over the course of my career and I have to say that they have a great appreciation for our brothers in the Orthodox Church and for the reasons cited. For those who have taken the time to think about the situation they find themselves in, the witness and the fact of Orthodoxy seems to be something that they appreciate even when they don't really know how a practical way to common witness would work. Our younger clergy seem to have a greater appreciation of this--in my limited experience--and the seminary professors I've known have at least a greater understanding of how the ecumenical atmosphere has opened us to consider things in more than the usual Reformation/Counter Reformation categories that dominated the thinking until a few years ago. I think with the current celebration of the 50 years of the Vatican Council we are getting a greater understanding of what this meeting actually said and the fact that much of Western Protestantism is becoming something that can never be reconciled with the Apostolic Faith is making an examination of the Christian East a greater priority. But things, as always, are glacially slow to percolate down to the pews.

Then there are the hard-core who are still talking aobut bringing everyone "under the Pope" and I get ready to throw up my hands and give up.

Bob

Re: Role of the Catholic Church [Re: Slavipodvizhnik] #391629 02/28/13 05:17 AM
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From my dealings here on ByzCath, I know many here understand this and would agree with the quote posted. But from what I have observed, it seems that most RC bishops, (and a few EC bishops!) are still products of the "hippie" school of liturgical thought, and feel, as one Jesuit priest put it so succinctly to me, that the Orthodox Church is "trapped in superstition, weeping icons and blind ritual" Other than Pope Benedict, a few conservative bishops and those from Eastern Europe, I can't see where any of the RC bishops, especially in America, so much as give us a second thought.

Re: Role of the Catholic Church [Re: Slavipodvizhnik] #391673 02/28/13 09:57 PM
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Well. If one is fortunate enough to live in a diverse area of the United States where there are just as many Eastern Rite Catholic parishes and Orthodox Churches as there are RC parishes, etc... like I do, then that's when curiosity of the other Rite and other Churches starts to kick in. I felt this curiosity when I was younger, to be sure. Wondering what the Eastern Rite did differently, and what the differences in sacramental traditions were between the Latin and Eastern Church. I only wish that others would have this curiosity. It would certainly keep the Catholic Church as a whole alive. Wish I could have tried harder to get other brethren to follow my lead, but hey...

Re: Role of the Catholic Church [Re: 8IronBob] #391688 03/01/13 04:37 AM
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Parma has as many eastern parishes as western ones? Is there anywhere else in they country where we are so well represented?

Re: Role of the Catholic Church [Re: Slavipodvizhnik] #391702 03/01/13 05:23 PM
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"Our liturgical integrity is a big part of that."


Focusing on only that much of the remark, I would like to say that I wish that were the case. I wish that the Roman Catholic Church, currently faced with the issue of straightening out decades of liturgical deformity, would look Eastward for guidance in that regard, rather than backwards to her own practices just before the Council, as if all was well before the 1960s hit.

The truth of the matter is that the Latin Rite was quite deformed back then, too, only in rather different ways. Unfortunately, however, when considering the matter of the so-called "reform of the reform" of the liturgy of the Roman Rite, we only seem able to look behind us, in the manner of the "traditionalists", as if all that is old-fashioned or previous is good. And so many have decided that what is older is better, even when it clearly isn't, simply because it's older (which is largely on account of the fact that RC "traditionalists" don't know liturgy from a lampshade).

So you have on the one hand the "traditionalists" who think reform lies in simply turning back the clock. On the other hand there are the "progressivists" who seem to be under the impression that endless innovation is the only way to keep the liturgy vital (clearly they're unable to see how boring their "vitality" is to the rest of us).

If the Roman Catholic Church were to look, neither to the past, nor to the Left for guidance in "reforming the reform" and instead looked Eastward, she would find plenty of inspiration for a better way of revitalizing her liturgy while at the same time maintaining tradition and sacrality.

And let me state for the record that I don't suggest an "Easternization" of Western liturgy, as if we ought to begin erecting iconostases in front of our sanctuaries and putting bells on our thuribles. That isn't what I mean. I simply mean to suggest that in the ancient liturgies preserved by the Eastern Church there are maintained timeless and universal liturgical structures and traditions that would be instructive as regards liturgical reform in the West. The Eastern liturgies are magnificent, not because they are Eastern, but because they are integral, traditional, and universal in character. This is what the Western Church needs to recapture with respect to her own liturgy.

Is the liturgical integrity of the Orthodox Church currently a guide for the Latin Church? Alas, no, not presently. The better question to ask is should she be, and it seems to me the answer is a most enthusiastic "yes."

Re: Role of the Catholic Church [Re: Slavipodvizhnik] #391738 03/02/13 05:54 PM
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Slavipodvizhnik,
yes, I would agree with you that most Roman bishops are in the "hippie" school of thought with regards to Liturgy, but, thankfully, Pope Benedict has begun a trend away from this.

Also, Brother in Christ, Roman Interloper, please do not presume to speak for traditionalist Catholics when you criticize them all for being no-nothings-I know for a fact that this is not true, knowing many myself. Some unfortunately, are like that, but NOT all. (If the Roman hierarchs would have actually taken the time to teach the faithful what is and what is not acceptable liturgical reform according to the tradition of the Church, and done what was really necessary, slowly, instead of the wholesale sacking of a holy & venerable rite of Western Liturgy, they WOULD have been trusted by the trad.faithful, and we wouldn't have half the problems of today).

If you wish to criticize both the Roman Traditionalists and the old Roman Liturgy for its "deformity", the Divine Liturgy of St. Peter, please be fair and criticize the Russian Old Believers as well, who are also devoted to their old, "deformed" liturgy-and in some places even kept alive the use of the "deformed" Roman Canon in the Russian Old Rite-or, criticize the Armenians, who love the additions that came to their Liturgy from the Roman practice.

The Roman Canon is ancient, the prayers surrounding it are beautiful and raise one to God, no matter how "recent" they are in Church history compared to some prayers in the Eastern Liturgies. The Roman Mass has been instumental in "making" saints by the droves in the Western Church for centuries-it is holy, grace filled, and gives glory to God. It is pleasing to God and has helped souls to him-it does not have to be eastern to be acceptable, it is the fruit of western holiness.

If the old Roman Rite needs to change some things to help the faithful-all I can really think of is going to some vernacular, elimination of private devotions during Mass, elimination of silent low masses to said "dialogue" Masses (as, even parts of the East had-Manjava Skete in Ukraine & among the Coptic Desert Fathers) & sung Masses-then great, but the essence of the Roman Liturgy has no need of reform as, it is not "deformed" as you assert.

I've attended old Roman "High Mass" many times in my life and was nothing short of impressed by the attentiveness, devotion, and ACTIVE participation of the faithful, all singing the Liturgy together-it was just like the faithful singing the Liturgy together in a fervent eastern church. I said to myself, no wonder there was such stubborn opposition to the supression of this rite when the Novus Ordo came out.

I often hear critisism after critisism of tradtional Catholics for their ignorance, lack of liturgical spirit, etc...and nothing but praise for Eastern Catholics & Orthodox-yet, having done the Church rounds myself, I OFTEN find what everyone is criticizing the trad. Romans for, the Easterners are doing as well and worse. I've seen everthing from faithful totally ignoring what was going on in the Liturgy due to having to light 5 million candles(I'm exaggerating of course) and venerating EVERY icon in the Church, to standing or sitting absolutely silent and not muttering the slightest response to anything the priest has sung, letting the choir do EVERYTHING, to sitting down in a corner of the Church for a "chat" about how life is treating you right as the priest is about to distribute the Holy Mysteries-this last was in a ROCOR church too, I couldn't believe it!

So, please, don't be so quick to criticise-we ALL need reform in some ways, and perhaps some more beautiful prayers can be added to the Roman Liturgy in the future (I wish the Monogenes Hymn would be added!), but the Roman Liturgy is still after all these centuries nourishing the Roman faithful-don't fix what ain't broke.

Re: Role of the Catholic Church [Re: Slavipodvizhnik] #391741 03/03/13 02:03 AM
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The main "deformity" of the "traditional" Roman rite is it's lack of an explicit epiclesis. This has affected the traditional rite in many and profound ways, because it shifted the emphasis from the Holy Spirit to the priest - in short, it put the emphasis on a man. This emphasis on a man in place of the Persons of the Trinity is uniquely western and is the emphasis from which most of its more problematic areas come. Communion under both kinds for priest only, the priest assuming the role of deacon, lack of concelebration etc. All the problematic areas of the "traditional" Roman rite come from the exaltation of the minister in the place of He whose minister he is.

Last edited by Otsheylnik; 03/03/13 02:03 AM. Reason: Grammar
Re: Role of the Catholic Church [Re: RussianCath] #391742 03/03/13 12:34 PM
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I've attended old Roman "High Mass" many times in my life and was nothing short of impressed by the attentiveness, devotion, and ACTIVE participation of the faithful, all singing the Liturgy together-it was just like the faithful singing the Liturgy together in a fervent eastern church.


In my unlearned opinion, if there is one thing that the Latin Church should take from the East it is sung liturgy. One presumes it was more common in the earlier ages.

Not only does it make the experience more powerful than spoken liturgy, but it imbues reverence, and also makes it much tougher to monkey with the liturgy.

Re: Role of the Catholic Church [Re: Slavipodvizhnik] #391743 03/03/13 01:44 PM
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The main "deformity" of the "traditional" Roman rite is it's lack of an explicit epiclesis. This has affected the traditional rite in many and profound ways, because it shifted the emphasis from the Holy Spirit to the priest - in short, it put the emphasis on a man.


This is a load of manure. If the Latins slandered the Orthodox by insisting the latter had removed the Filioque from the Creed, then the Orthodox continually slander the Latins over the alleged "lack" of an explicit descending Epiclesis. In fact, the Roman Canon never had an Epiclesis, for the simple reason it predates the pneumatological controversies that made inclusion of one essential in the Christian East. Even then, the Assyrian Church, whose Liturgy of Addai and Mari predates both the Old Roman and the Byzantine rite, not only lacks an explicit Epiclesis but also an institution narrative.

As Archimandrite Robert Taft and other liturgical historians have demonstrated, this is not a "deficiency", merely a reflection of the development of liturgy in each particular Tradition. Moreover, the more ancient liturgies reflect the patristic view that the entire Anaphora--indeed, the whole Eucharistic Liturgy--is a single, unfolding consecratory act, in which invocation of the Spirit may be either explicit (a concise formula) or distributed throughout the Anaphora. This is in fact the case with the Roman Canon, in which the Holy Spirit is indeed invoked in a distributed manner, just as the words of institution are invoked in a similar manner in the Anaphora of Addai and Mari.

The claim that this lack of Epiclesis "shifted" the emphasis in the Roman rite to the celebrant is also hogwash. That was much more a development of the medieval clericalization of the liturgy (through the development of "private Mass" then of the "low Mass") than of any pneumatological deficiency of the Roman Canon. That, and the retention of Latin as the exclusive liturgical language long after it ceased to be the lingua vulgaris in the West, are what reduced the people to passive spectators at the Mass.

Let's not forget that the Byzantine Churches were not immune from similar influences. The silent recitation of the public prayers of the Anaphora, and above all, the introduction of composed choral music into the Slavic Churches under Russian influence in the 17th-18th centuries, as well as the retention of Church Slavonic and liturgical Greek, have similarly alienated the people from the Liturgy in many Orthodox Churches, rendering them just as much passive observers as were the people at the Tridentine Mass of the 1950s.

Re: Role of the Catholic Church [Re: Slavipodvizhnik] #391745 03/03/13 01:47 PM
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I'm going to make an extremely controversial statement here, and for that reason I will invite posters to do their own online research or else pm me for additional information, because I wouldn't want to see this get out of control, but in the last 10 years or less I've noticed a phenomenon within Traditionalist Catholic circles in America, and that is a growing minority that is increasingly Pro-Russian. To keep it simple, the belief is that Russia is becoming more Christian while most of the world's developed nations are becoming intensely anti-Christian. While it's true there are also Traditionalists who consider Russia anti-Catholic. The group I referred to see's Orthodox Russia as definitely headed in the right direction.

Re: Role of the Catholic Church [Re: Slavipodvizhnik] #391749 03/03/13 06:01 PM
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Actually, Russia is becoming more "traditionalist", in the sense of nostalgically longing for a vanished (and generally non-existent) past; this appeals to the sensibility of Latin traditionalists, who likewise long for a vanished (and generally non-existent) past; this allows them to overlook the reality of life in Russia today, which is generally the antithesis of Christian.

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