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Re: Sunday obligation [Re: J Michael] #392245 03/15/13 08:15 PM
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@Stuart... I understand where you get your emphasis. I get that we are encouraged to keep our own customs... But my point is that we can not as individuals implement it in ways that are contrary to what our Bishops have laid out for us canonically. The faithful should simply obey when obedience is asked of us. You can lament the latinizations of theology and practice, but IMO you can not say, I will follow these instructions and rules, and not those, because those should not exist, and these other ones should exist.

That is, latinization or not, the Ruthenian Church does pretty much accept and teach the theology of being obliged to attend a DL or RC mass on Sundays and certain Holy Days (with no exceptions stated as far as I know) therefore, I think it is not within the individual's sphere of choice to say if that sounds acceptable to him/her or what the idea of keeping our own customs/traditions/theology should look like. We can pray and discuss and hope things modify or reform, but I do not think we can decide what to follow or not as individuals.

Re: Sunday obligation [Re: J Michael] #392247 03/15/13 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted by J Michael

Okay, thanks! Never occurred to me to contact the bishop (administrator in this case) about it. DUH cool !

Doing both (something I've contemplated in the past), Mass and Reader's Service, is probably out of the question due to my wife's health.


Contact him and see what he will let you do or what he would suggest. You'll never know what is possible unless you ask.

Re: Sunday obligation [Re: J Michael] #392258 03/16/13 12:17 AM
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I get that we are encouraged to keep our own customs... But my point is that we can not as individuals implement it in ways that are contrary to what our Bishops have laid out for us canonically.


Bishops are given the charism of teaching the Tradition; the laity have the responsibility and obligation of defending it against all who would debase it--including the bishops. That's the history of the Eastern Churches in a nutshell.

Re: Sunday obligation [Re: J Michael] #392267 03/16/13 03:32 AM
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Father Robert Taft captured the dysfunctional dynamic of the Eastern Catholic Churches in his essay, Liturgy in the Life of the Church, which every Eastern Catholic should be required to read, aloud, at least once every year.


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The Recovery of Authenticity

These are not personal opinions I am expressing. That our liturgical traditions must be preserved in their integrity and restored when that integrity has been diminished or diluted or lost, has been repeated time and again in the authoritative magisterial teaching of the Catholic Church by all the popes over the last century and a half, by the new Roman editions of the Eastern Catholic liturgical books and the accompanying Ordo Celebrationis Vesparum, Mantini et Divinae Liturgiae Iuxta Recensionem Ruthenorum (1944), by Vatican II (Orientalitum Ecclesiarum, Sacrosanctum Concilium, Lumen Gentium, Unitatis Redintegratio), by the new Code of Canons of the Oriental Churches(Canons 28, 29, 350, 621, etc.), by the latest pronouncements of our present Holy Father John Paul II (the Discourse on the Marian Year, Orientale Lumen, etc.; and by the Congregation for the Oriental Churches’ Instruction for the Application of the Liturgical Norms of the CCEO.

The Vatican II Decree on the Oriental Churches reaffirms this unambiguously:

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6. All members of the Eastern Churches should be firmly convinced that they can and ought always preserve their own legitimate liturgical rites and way of life, and that changes are to be introduced only to forward their own organic development. They themselves are to carry out all these prescriptions with the greatest fidelity. They are to aim always at a more perfect knowledge and practice of their rites, and if they have fallen away due to circumstances of time or of persons, they are to strive to return to their ancestral traditions.

12. The holy ecumenical council confirms and approves the ancient discipline concerning the sacraments that exist in the Eastern Churches, and also the ritual observed in their celebration and administration, and wishes this to be restored where such a case arises.


Let us be perfectly clear: the only reason for the existence of the Eastern Catholic Churches as “Ecclesiae particulares” is their distinct ecclesial patrimony—i.e., their “rite” in the full sense of that term. Our rite is not just an essential part of our identity; it is our identity. And without it there is no reason for us to exist apart from the Latin rite. If the only thing that distinguishes our rite from that of our Orthodox Sister Churches is our communion with and obedience to the Holy See of Rome, then one can legitimately ask what kind of Eastern Catholic ecclesiology could ignore such clear and repeated instructions of the Holy See in this regard. The answer, of course, is perfectly clear to anyone capable of thought.

Opposition to Renewal

Ironically, however, the Eastern Catholic liturgical renewal so strenuously fostered by the Holy See since Pope Leo XIII has been opposed every step of the way by those who should have welcomed it on bended knee as a great grace from God; I mean, of course, the Eastern Catholic hierarchy with a few notable exceptions like Andrij Sheptytsky (1865-1944), Archbishop of Lviv, Metropolitan of Halych, and primate of the Ukranian Greek Catholic Church.

Various reasons have been given for this opposition, but as usual in such matters, the real roots go much deeper. The real issue is not ritual practice at all. Many of the rubrical niceties that divide the clergy—the size and shape of the veil or diskos, the cut of a vestment, the amplitude of one’s sleeves, where to put the antimension—are of little or no significance in themselves. But these divergent ritual uses have become symbols of religious identity, much as the Ritualist Movement in late 19th century Anglicanism. At issue were not mere differences of rubric, but symbolic affirmations of the conviction that Anglicanism was not “Protestant” but “Catholic”.

At bottom, then, what we face is two different interpretations of a community’s past, two different historical visions. This is possible because history, of course, is not just a shared past, but one’s view of that past seen through the lens of present concerns. This vision is not a passive view of the past as an objective reality, but a pattern formed through a process of selection determined by one’s present outlook.

Some Eastern Catholic clergy see their history as a progress from schism and spiritual stagnation into a life of discipline, renewal and restored religious practice in the Catholic communion. For this group, the adoption of certain Latin—they would say “Catholic”—devotions and liturgical uses is a sign of this new identity. Such attitudes reflect an interior erosion of the Eastern Christian consciousness, a “latinization of the heart” resulting from a formation insensitive to the true nature of the variety of traditions within the Catholic Church.

Others, while not denying their commitment to the Catholic communion nor underestimating the obvious spiritual benefits it has brought to their Churches, see themselves as Orthodox in communion with Rome, distinguished from their Orthodox Sister Churches in nothing but the fact of that communion and its doctrinal and ecclesial consequences. They see the Latinisms that have crept into their tradition as a loss of identity, an erosion of their heritage in favor of foreign customs with which they can in no way identify themselves. For some, latinization is a sign of their identity, for others its negation, and both are right, because they perceive themselves differently.

Underlying these issues, of course, is the more serious question of Rome’s credibility: is the Holy See to be believed in what it says about restoring the Eastern Catholic heritage? The morale of some of the younger Eastern Catholic clergy has of late been deeply affected by this cul-de-sac: they feel mandated to do one thing by the Holy See, and then are criticized or even disciplined by their bishop if they try to obey.

The problem, as usual, is one of leadership, without which the hesitant or reluctant have no one to follow. What is needed is not just discipline and obedience, but also clergy education loyal to the clear policy of the Church on this question, and prudent pastoral preparation. This is the only way out of the vicious cycle that has been created: the proposed reforms are resisted because the clergy and the people are not prepared to accept them—yet some Church leaders do little or nothing to prepare the people for a renewal that the leaders themselves do not understand or accept.


Last edited by StuartK; 03/16/13 03:33 AM.
Re: Sunday obligation [Re: StuartK] #392270 03/16/13 04:37 AM
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Stuart,

Is this essay available online somewhere?

Re: Sunday obligation [Re: J Michael] #392275 03/16/13 05:38 AM
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I respectfully disagree. The Bishops are the ones who have authority to bind or loose. Not us. I am inspired by all of the instances in the Church where certain holy men/women/saints were proven by the way they obeyed their Bishops even when the Bishops were incorrect about something. Catholicism (rather, Apostolic Christianity) is not something one can piece together from what seems to be authentic tradition to the individual believer. This breeds chaos. Where is the unity if you convince yourself you are doing the right thing, and maybe influence pockets of others to do the same? We are in a living tradition and we are united and one of the main reasons that keeps this happening is sticking with our Bishops.

The kind of reform that you are linking essays to, would not be a reform that is encouraged to be made without some sort of structure and leadership. It would be a corporate moving toward something. Not something each individual can bring about - at least in cases where it contradicts current prescribed Church canons. Of course in matters where there is no contradiction to current rules and guidelines, I think nothing wrong with the idea of he individuals and Churches seeking to live and pray an Eastern lifestyle as much as they would be able to.

I believe that If and when the Bishops are asking of us something that is less than perfectly Eastern, the response should be to follow, but to pray for them, and work through whatever channels we have to communicate or feelings about it, even if it seem to be a fruitless task.

Last edited by searching east; 03/16/13 05:40 AM.
Re: Sunday obligation [Re: J Michael] #392276 03/16/13 06:04 AM
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We are not called to blind obedience. If our bishop is wrong, we have the moral obligation to oppose them. Read the life of St. Maximos the Confessor.

Although I agree that the bishop and the priests should take the lead here. But how much can they do? Some bishops may want to do the reforms but the laity don't. I think that happens a lot in parishes with a lot of ethnic cradles. The bishop cannot be heavy handed lest everyone leaves and his parishes shut down. Again this has to do with the unintended effect of communion with Rome. If this were an Orthodox parish, where will people go? Not a lot of Orthodox parishes and usually they are ethnic as well, people won't go to another parish that is not of their ethnic group. But in Eastern Catholicism? They can just go to the Roman Catholic parish which often will be ethnicity-neutral.

Re: Sunday obligation [Re: J Michael] #392282 03/16/13 02:03 PM
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Is this essay available online somewhere?


No, but a video of Taft reading it is available at Orientale Lumen Television: Liturgy in the Life of the Church (sample) .

Re: Sunday obligation [Re: J Michael] #392283 03/16/13 03:20 PM
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You would have to show me specific instances of this. So for now, my opinion is that your assessment is incorrect that the faithful can decide to follow canon laws or not, based on whether they seem correct to them. That does not seem consistent with Apostolic thought.

Re: Sunday obligation [Re: J Michael] #392286 03/16/13 04:14 PM
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As you were told, read the life of St. Maximos the Confessor--a man who though but a layman monk, stood up not only to his bishop, but all the bishops of the East. And won.

Re: Sunday obligation [Re: J Michael] #392289 03/16/13 05:52 PM
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Let us not forget St. Mark of Ephesus, either. As the story goes, his defense of Orthodoxy, after an apparent reconciliation was settled, caused the east not to reunite w/ the west.

Re: Sunday obligation [Re: J Michael] #392290 03/16/13 06:13 PM
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Pp 67/68 of Shown to be Holy : An Introduction to Eastern Christian Moral Thought (seems to have been a joint effort among various jurisdictions of Eastern Catholic Churches) It has a section entitled "Certitude, or Trust." In it, the following is written: "It is precisely episodes such as this [previous paragraph was about Athanasius, vs Arius - who both believed they had Tradition behind their assertions] that this led to the teaching that there is no certain ground by which we can automatically discern God's guidance in situations which have not been the subject of revelation.

We can seek His will prayerfully, consult the Church and its Tradition, and still be wrong.

On the other hand, we may find ourselves opposed to the highest Church authority, and be right. Thus, the monk St. Maximos the Confessor opposed the patriarchs of Constantinople, and Alexandria - almost singlehandedly, during the sixth century Monothelite controversy.

He rejected his own bishops, saying: "When I see the Church of Constantinople, as it was formerly, then I will enter communion with it, without any exhortation on the part of men. But, while there are heretical temptations within her, and while heretics are its bishops, no word or deed will ever convince me to enter into communion with it."

In this same book, it goes further, in saying: "And so, after a person has deeply, and seriously consulted the teaching ministry given to the Church, and reflected prayerfully on its directions, as well as the leadings of his or her own heart, that person must follow their conscious, even if it runs contrary to the established understanding of the Church."

Lastly, this book mentions - in this part of the chapter - the notion of, because of exercising the above, we may transgress, but not sin, since because we came to our decision(s) through prayerful maturity

Last edited by Lester S; 03/16/13 06:14 PM. Reason: filling in gaps
Re: Sunday obligation [Re: J Michael] #392303 03/16/13 09:34 PM
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You can not just tell someone to read a whole book to understand your argument. If you know what the argument is, you should take care to give me links or quotes or at least page numbers to such works. I am not going to read the whole thing just to discuss the matter. Now, someone above seems to quote a portion of something, and I appreciate that.

I find it silly to say one could look at this example and justify disobeying specific canons that exist in one's Church. It makes sense that if the Church started teaching that Jesus did not have two natures that one would openly go against it.
That is a lot different than, can I make up my own mind about if I am obligated to go to a certain parish on Sundays.

also, the idea (whether sometimes true or not) that one can place ones feelings or heart above Tradition or teaching authority, is something that doesn't usually lead to good results. Usually it fosters division and people excusing a lot of things that are not sound.

I am listening and trying to learn why you think like you do though (even just to know how to argue against it). But I would need more help than just being told to read a book. For now I will refrain from saying St. Maximos did or said anything right or wrong (or if he is being properly represented here) since I know little of the context, but I will express doubt that the situation we are talking about here is a good parallel of his situation.

Last edited by searching east; 03/16/13 09:35 PM.
Re: Sunday obligation [Re: J Michael] #392326 03/17/13 12:58 AM
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The book is called, Shown to Be Holy: An Introduction to Eastern Christian Moral Thought

http://www.byzantineseminarypress.com/products/Shown-to-be-Holy.html

well, if we want into the disobeying of certain canons...

Think about kneeling on Sundays | Think about the inclusion of the filioque, on the part of the Roman Pontiff(s), at those times in question.

As far as the notion of Sunday Obligation, it's (as often cited here, and other forums) pretty foreign in Eastern attitude(s). If anything there's the stipulation: if you miss three liturgies in a row, it's close to, if not totally, grounds for excommunication.

The same book I cited discusses the notion of minimalism as well. I recommend that book, as one can see it's a cheap pick up (even cheaper if can find it at a better price)

Re: Sunday obligation [Re: J Michael] #392327 03/17/13 01:06 AM
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If I may, if we want to be a good example to our Orthodox brethren, as stated by Abbot Nicholas in a paper he wrote in 1998, we need to be in the same wavelength litugically, and in practice: that being the restoration of a common typikon.

Secondly, it is very important to have a relationship with a father confessor, or spiritual father to see if indeed an Orthodox liturgy, or vespers will satisfy an "obligation." The canon laws aren't so much for us laity, but for the those in the hire rungs of the ladder to interpret.

Is a sunday obligation part of the overall dogma? If it's not, the Ruthenian church doesn't need to be entrenched in this. If the goal is to fulfill the obligation for its sake, then it's fulfillment will have little, to no meaning.

You don't go to church, because you "have to." You go to church because you're "compelled to," to the point of wanting to so much, you can't stand to miss another Sunday.

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