He is and ever shall be!
I want to thank you for your fairly reasoned and thoughtful response. Your sincerity is appreciated, and we both will agree your response is normative of a large number of Roman Catholic believers and clergy. If not the majority. Your thought reflects an openess to encounter which is trapped behind limitations of times, places and peoples. In that, it affirms precisely the need for Rome to rediscover its Catholic identity, an identity which originally defined itself as a faith and ontology for all peoples, places and times.
When this emphasis was lost, an identity crisis was precisely experienced and things began to devolve out of control to where observance and piety, not to mention theology and ecclesiology, pseudo-morphosed into an organism which is estranged from the root. Secularization and its sister, apostasy, now assault the church. That church has become an organism which lives a distinct life of its own removed from the reality of its original parent's intent. This today is the essence of why Orthodox Catholics and Roman Catholics are estranged, why we walk different paths.
If this paradigm perpetuates itself for much longer, the only new encounters we will have possible before us are those of peoples of goodwill, living different faiths, striving for cooperation and tolerance - perhaps sharing ministries in the social gospel - but very much estranged theologically, ecclesiologically, soteriologically, liturgically. Divided and on different roads permanently. If this is the only outcome we can achieve, aside from ecumenically dubious redefinitions and/or unia, we fail our confessed Lord and Master in our incapability to share a common Chalice in Him and to live a common life in His One Body.
I find myself in a strange but at the same time appropriate place siding with the traditionalists in your church, mostly the post Vatican II ones. The reason why I write appropriate is because from my Orthodox perspective, we share similar or the same concerns and mindset. As an Orthodox Christian, I can sympathize, even at times identify, with them. I can see myself engaged in a dialogue with like minded believers striving to live the same or similar Faith. I cannot say the same for the RC liberals and even the current pope who impress me as reformed voices of a different religious mindset pursuing a faith tradition alien from Orthodox Catholicism. This dissonance both encourages and disappoints me at the same time. It allows me to see that there are still Roman Catholics with whom we can eventually share a common Chalice. While it disappoints me that they are discouraged, disenfranchised, even suppressed by a neo Protestant orientation betraying their pleas for fidelity to the Catholic Tradition. A liberal imperium in imperio acting to repress their piety.
Normally, a believer like myself, who in the pre Vatican II era was referred to as a "Greek schismatic", would not find himself in sympathy with people of such a mindset, but one of the peculiar results of Vatican II is that such a mentalite in a strongly expressed prejudice now confines itself mainly to sedevacantes and nominal Catholics who tend to have a more liberal and less informed faith. Vatican II has inadvertently put in place a bridge of solidarity between Roman Catholic traditionalists and Orthodox Catholics by removing biases and prejudices and stressing encounter and appreciating a common Faith Tradition. Instead of fostering a liberal mindset for mutual neo-reformation, it has set the table for us to be able to find common cause in piety and Catholic consciousness where we both can reflect on our shared Apostolic foundation, our history, our common and Catholic approaches to living our faiths. This sets up a natural solidarity between Orthodox Catholics and Roman Catholic traditionalists to confront the challenges of the present and future. Moreover, this solidarity will eventually estrange us both from dialogue with an increasingly liberal Vatican and an increasingly out of touch RC episcopate.
Since the vitality of the post Vatican II church is mainly found amongst the ranks of Roman Catholic traditionalists, this natural sync between them and Orthodox Catholics will eventually unite us in common cause and common concern.https://heroicvirtuecreations.com/2016/07/15/the-rise-of-the-new-catholic-traditionalists/https://www.churchmilitant.com/news...ion-and-resisting-the-establishment-churhttps://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702303772904577335290865863450
Emphasizing Roman/Western liturgics, common pre Schism Roman/Western piety, practice and discipline and a model for a united, religious identity where the same Faith and Chalice is shared but local optics and customs are clearly visible IS NOT Byzantinization. Actually, it's Romanization. More importantly, it's Catholic recovery and rededication. My 25 points are about renewal, and when implemented appropriately amongst faithful like Roman Catholic traditionalists, will actually not only reunite Roman Catholics and Orhodox Catholics, but also reinvigorate piety and active faith and sacramental life in RC parishes, resacralize them and fill them once more with reverence, devotion and a sense of Apostolic authenticity. These points not only can fly, but are the culmination of what Roman Catholic traditionalists want today: the restoration of Catholic identity and an end to the many affronts emanating from liberal deconstruction of the Roman Catholic faith.
I am sorry I gave the false impression that the Vatican should archaeologically restore or reconstruct a fourth century mass. I was unclear. My actual recommendation was to take an existing mass, the Missal of John XXIII or even better a Maronite mass (already existing as a Latinized bridge between East and West which can have elements of the Roman Canon grafted on to it), and with changes such as a strong epiklesis and use of Prosphora, implement it in the place of the Paul VI mass. I emphasize a Sarum, Milanese, even Tridentine ordo being adapted to it. And the resulting rite is indeed Roman and Western, yet Orthodox and Catholic.
It is what Roman Catholic traditionalists want and a majority Broad Church - RC Traditionalist coalition would welcome in RC parishes.
This should dispel the notion that I insist on Byzantinization: if anything, I am advocating the side of Roman Catholic traditionalists from an Orthodox Catholic perspective.
As far as the Roman rite is concerned. From roughly the late eighth century until the 1960s, the text of the Roman Canon was essentially the same. The Liturgy of the Word too was essentially the same, having litanies omitted over time and some secret prayers changing. What differed textually in the Roman rite were such things as collects, introits, etc. And those mainly differed as a result of either festal observance and/or such things as Gallican survivals. Where there were differences were in ritual. From Rome to Paris to Dubrovnik to Sarum, the parish ordos differed: where many felt that the Sarum mass possessed the most beautiful ritual in the Roman church. Much of these rituals and their elaborateness were accentuated before and after Lyons. During this time, the various monastic and chivalric orders also developed their own ordos, some simpler such as the Cistercian, and others more elaborate.
With the Reformation, Rome was challenged to centralize, to use uniformity in defendng itself from the criticisms of Reformers bent on discrediting the mass as "unbiblical, pagan, abhorrent". At Trent, the mass of the Franciscans with its ordo was standardized as the main parish rite due to its simpler ritual, relying on it to create a uniformity which could be observed throughout the Roman Catholic church. Also at this time, piety and worship become more formulaic: by having a set order, a set legal code, a structure, the resulting uniformity would act as a bulwark against abberation and abuses and thereby counteract the agitprop of decadence and unbiblical degeneration the Protestants were using to attack Roman Catholic worship.
Religious orders, however, did tend to retain their own rites even after Trent.
So what the Roman rite did to defend itself was to impose a template of uniformity and textual continuity. What this did was preserve a textually historical mass. But because of its rigid imposition on the parishes it became prone to nominalism and empty repetition, where the faithful were often excluded from living the faith, participating in the mass, simply observing a priest saying mass, but not actively participating in the Eucharist. What was lost from former times was a living participation in the ritual, an offering of the People of God, a Eucharistic life lived and celebrated. This, however, was not the fault of the text of the mass, or even its ordo, but, rather, the legalistic and nominalizing framework the Counter Reformation imposed upon it.
The movement for liturgical renewal in the early twentieth century sought to restore active Eucharistic life, not to turn the Roman Catholic mass into the divine service found in the back of a Methodist hymnal. Many in this movement found the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom as the epitome of Christian Eucharistic celebration because of its mystagogical emphasis and active Eucharistic reality which express the eschatological accomplishment of the People of God as Eucharist. The movement's intent for liturgical reform was not to abolish the Roman mass or even textually butcher it. But rather to infuse it with a sense of mystagogical encounter where by Communion, the Eucharistic reality of the Church, the People of God becoming the Body and Blood of Christ, is actively accomplished and sanctifies the pilgrim church. Vatican II handed liturgical reform to the liberals who actually gave nothing but lipservice to the movement for liturgical renewal, new Reformers who then dated themselves by affirming a model of Evangelical worship peculiar to low church Protestantism at that time they felt was more "socially conscious and relevant". The Benedictines were tasked with offering their liturgical proposals as a corrective to this miscarriage of liturgical renewal. They were very much in the mainstream of the movement for liturgical renewal. Alas, their commission was shut down in 1978 to set in stone the Mass of Paul VI in its reformed character and emphasis.
So, we have a fundamental disagreement of how the Roman church has changed the mass, how liturgical renewal and liturgical reform are achieved, the possibility for Catholic restoration of the mass and the reason and emphasis behind liturgical development.
The restoration of chant and traditional hymnody was supposed to be emphasized in the New Evangelization. While congregational singing may not always be reconciled with Gregorian chant, there are simpler melodies from Anglican Plainsong and the slew of Post Vatican II folksy compositions which are not that difficult to execute without musical instruments. Even for a nominal congregation. Of course, trained cantors and practiced choirs can elevate the music of worship past a guitar or a screeching ballpark organ or even post Vatican II folk retro. But, no, I am not stressing universally observed Palestrina masses, however beautiful they would be. Moreover, both Blessed Augustine and Thomas Aquinas stressed that musical instruments were inappropriate to use in Catholic worship. Their reasoning is pretty sound. And they are doctors of the Roman Catholic church. So encouraging the faithful up with a Catholic form of chant and hymnody is actually most appropriate - especially in our time - and something the Vatican has supposedly encouraged. http://www.beliefnet.com/faiths/catholic/2005/12/the-gregorian-chant-comeback.aspxhttp://www.crisismagazine.com/2012/catholic-music-its-time-to-stop-making-stuff-uphttps://adoremus.org/2004/09/15/how-can-we-restore-gregorian-chant-to-quotpride-of-placequot/
The Church will not overcome secularization by accommodating the nominalism of a given congregation or diocese. It will succumb to it. The Church must encourage parishioners to active faith. To establish their piety. To give meaning and a place to worship and observance. To sacrifice for the Church. To live the Life in Christ. Showing up at mass times as they are posted isn't that much to ask to start this process. Getting parishioners back into parishes to respect the order of services will probably increase respect for them. Because they will be seen as essential and less commonplace, not optional.
Most RC parishes built prior to Vatican II are indeed set up to accommodate the one altar, one priest, one mass before noon, per day rule. That's what the side altars were originally for. Some parishes even had or have high altars as well. So RC parishes were set up to accommodate multiple masses on multiple altars per day. It's just a matter of using what's there.
The return to Latin and dignified, accurate English (vernacular) is actually growing in popularity. Many are fed up with the banal and less reverent structure and language of Vatican II worship. The old liberal attitudes toward Latin are passing away and being rejected. (Although I only mentioned Latin as one possibility along with a standard, dignified use of vernacular.)http://www.crisismagazine.com/2013/the-rise-of-latin-mass-youthhttp://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2015/03/12/catholicism-latin-mass-resurgence/70214976/https://www.ncronline.org/blogs/distinctly-catholic/latin-mass-decision-gave-rise-new-divisiveness
Ad orientem/ad apsidem is the historically liturgical rubric of Rome and the West. Facing the people is mentioned in The Didache and practiced in Jerusalem in the Orthodox Church when the Liturgy of St. James is celebrated there: it isn't celebrated that way anywhere else in the Orthodox Catholic Church nor by the Non Chalcedonians. No other liturgy celebrated by the Orthodox in Jerusalem is celebrated that way. So the historical precedent for celebrating mass facing the people is thin and inconsistent with the historical practices of the Western church. It leaves the impression that the priest is performing a show for the faithful and not leading them in worship in their common celebration of the Unbloody Sacrifice. It nominalizes worship. It gives a sense of the people being spectators and not participants in worship. It desacralizes the mass. It is very low church Protestant in most parish settings where the Mass of Paul VI is performed. Hence, it can be seen as inappropriate.
There is actually a desire for many Roman Catholics, even Bishops, to return to ad orientem worship. Notwithstanding the dismay of the current, liberal pope (whose time might not be so permanent and whose legacy will certainly be challenged). So we have a new tube of toothpaste, and the old 1965 brand is out of date. Rome just refuses to get the memo.http://www.patheos.com/blogs/davear...m-defense-priests-facing-altar-mass.htmlhttps://www.lifesitenews.com/news/wisconsin-bishop-to-adopt-ad-orientem-position-for-masshttp://m.ncregister.com/daily-news/ad-orientem-posture-given-new-life-in-nebraska#.WelkR6kpDqA
Unfortunately, much of the confusion regarding my 25 points results from the fact that you are right: the Byzantine rite and the Roman rite once observed many of the same customs and much of the same discipline and piety. RC faithful simply are not aware of it. They don't know their history. Catholic identity for most has only superficially been exposed and understood. This is why we read so many denunciations here of "Byzantinization" and "Orthodox triumphalism". Understanding the context for what I am proposing is diminished. Because most RC faithful are found fundamentally lacking in historical knowledge of historical Roman Catholic identity and practice. This is precisely why it is necessary for the Roman Catholic church to rediscover its Catholic identity. Not only to rediscover unity with the Orthodox Catholic Church, but also to restore Apostolic Faith and worship. It not only can be done, but has to be done to prevent a neo-Anglican pseudo-morphosis of the Roman Catholic church.
Vatican II may have been necessary to lift the pall of Counter Reformational legalism, clericalism and obscurantism. But that does not justify its neo Protestant remedies and liberal dominion over faith, worship and piety. It secularized the Roman Catholic church. It empties parishes. It promotes apostasy. It is increasingly viewed with disfavor by RC faithful. Vatican II, as implemented, was the triumph of the Reformation and secular humanism over the Roman Catholic church. It was a tragedy. A mistake pleading for a displacement of the liberal control it put in place of the Roman church. A mistake demanding a Vatican III to correct it in the Apostolic Tradition and restore Catholic identity.https://onepeterfive.com/pre-post-conciliar-catholicism-chasm-rift/http://www.traditionalcatholicpries...n-the-catholic-church-before-vatican-ii/http://thefederalist.com/2017/08/28/catholics-lost-started-tearing-great-altars/
I believe precisely because of the mistakes of Vatican II that the 25 points I bring up to promote reunion with the Orthodox Catholic Church have merit and their historical moment. Because they reaffirm historical Catholic worship, theology, ecclesiology. While promoting a very real certainty of reunion with the Orthodox Catholic Church. The failure of Vatican II reinforces the point I am trying to make and argues for the possibility of an encounter with, reunion with Orthodox Catholicism, because it represents the failed and banal excesses of modernism and neo-Reformation.http://www.seattlecatholic.com/article_20031208.htmlhttps://www.olrl.org/misc/jones_stats.shtmlhttp://www.tldm.org/news6/statistics.htm
The See of Istanbul in its pronouncements and practices isn't normative of most of Orthodox Catholicism. It isn't even normative of Greek Orthodoxy. As such, much of what is expressed by its clerics should be taken with a grain of salt. They do not and will not speak for me and other Russian Orthodox Catholics. The future of Orthodox Catholicism will be determined from Moscow. The views of the Russian church are much more normative of Orthodox Catholicism.
I truly lament that a sizeable number, if not the current majority, of RC faithful would prefer to agree to disagree rather than pursue reunion with the Orthodox Catholic Church in oneness of Faith and Catholic identity. I don't see that sentiment as static. I perceive that Orthodox Catholic alliance with Roman Catholic traditionalists will pressure the liberal establishment in the Roman Catholic church to budge and eventually buckle. If done properly. So I am not as pessimistic that reunion can't be achieved.
However, we both agree that a more clever form of unia and/or ecumenical gimmicky will never bring reunion about. That in and of itself gives more positive prospects for dialogue. The refreshing and friendly honesty of our exchange gives reason and reassurance that in the Love of Christ faithful of goodwill from both of our churches will one day find and share a common Catholic worldview and identity. That may just be a moment when 25 points like the ones I have put forward are welcomed by all and achieve reunion of separated brethren.