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The Renewal of the Liturgy: An Eastern Novus Ordo? #78154 03/23/03 12:21 PM
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Robert Horvath Offline OP
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Question:
1. How could the Vatican II Council Fathers choose revolution/reformation for the Latin Church and restoration for the Eastern Churches in its Communion? - This question is in regard to the Liturgy and Ritual.

2. If the Council Fathers wanted the "updating" of the Church as a whole why have the Eastern Catholic Churches not seen the "aggiornamento" that has swept through the Latin Church? Since the Fathers saw that the traditional Roman Rite was in essence out of touch with modern man and its expressions antiquated why have the Eastern Churches, whose Liturgical forms are even more esoteric and grandios than the traditional Roman Rite, been encouraged to restore even further these traditions? Why the seeming discrepancy? Was this in essence the new triumphalism? Is not the underlying signal: We will make the Roman Rite new and dynamic and the Eastern Rites relics which adorn the since sold triple tiara of the Pontiff? Has anyone else noticed this problem?

3. And if Rome desires an "updating" for us as well how could Eastern Churches update their liturgical forms to maintain the essence of an Eastern core without betraying its identity to either a Latin/Western liturgical paradigm and yet be made dynamic, relevant and modern?

4. And if, on our side, this updating is not intended, what can that possibly mean for the future of our Communion with the Latin Church? Was the aggioramento of the Latin Church the work of conciliar genius which will only lead to its steady growth or was it the most perilous action in Church History only to possibly lead to grave errors and schisms/apostasies? Are the Eastern Churches the salvation of the Latin Church while she plays with holy things or will we be relegated to the history books or reduced to nothingness because we did not as Episcopal retired bishop John Shelby Spong said, "Change or Die"??

Just some questions...

Re: The Renewal of the Liturgy: An Eastern Novus Ordo? #78155 03/23/03 01:17 PM
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Gideon Offline
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I can't believe anti-bishop Spong is still a bishop.


Abba Isidore the Priest:
When I was younger and remained in my cell I set no limit to prayer; the night was for me as much the time of prayer as the day.
(p. 97, Isidore 4)
Re: The Renewal of the Liturgy: An Eastern Novus Ordo? #78156 03/23/03 02:16 PM
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spdundas Offline
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First of all, the Vatican II did not say that the Latin Church must strip down all the altars change it around, making weird changes, etc. Basically from what I was told by Fr. Fessio (sp?) he's a reowned Liturgist, that the Vatican II's goal was to make the Mass even more glorious and more beautiful, by adding one more epistle, have psalm response, having more laity involvement with Mass, etc., etc. It did not say that the Altars must face people, have Eucharistic ministers, having clown masses, etc. It's all done by the pseudo-liberals who twist the words of the Vatican II and as well as well-intentioned bishops who misinterpreted or misunderstood the Vatican II.

I believe that the true restoration of the Latin Church will come and fix it exactly the way the Vatican II intended it to be. It is a big mess!

And as for Vatican II telling Eastern Churches to restore it's true identity, it's probably mainly due to the fact many of them were "latinized" so it must be "DE-latinized" in order to restore it. That's what Vatican II meant.

SPDundas
Deaf Byzantine

Re: The Renewal of the Liturgy: An Eastern Novus Ordo? #78157 03/23/03 03:11 PM
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Gideon Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by spdundas:
It's all done by the pseudo-liberals who twist the words of the Vatican II and as well as well-intentioned bishops who misinterpreted or misunderstood the Vatican II.

Why did Vat. II use open ended language then? Why didn't the Vatican step in and say "the changes have gone too far." If it was "misunderstood" why have corrections not been made?


Abba Isidore the Priest:
When I was younger and remained in my cell I set no limit to prayer; the night was for me as much the time of prayer as the day.
(p. 97, Isidore 4)
Re: The Renewal of the Liturgy: An Eastern Novus Ordo? #78158 03/23/03 10:12 PM
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An opinion with a probable response to your questions:

One of the important reasons was Ecumenism. They wanted the Eastern Catholic Churches to become more a bridge for the reception of Eastern Christians separated from Rome into the Catholic Communion. A latinized and westernized Eastern Catholic Church would be a matter of dissapointment to the Orthodox who would like to join the Catholic Church. At the same time it gives prestige to the Eastern Catholic Churches, representing the plurality that exists in the Catholic Church.

On the other side, they wanted the Western Catholic Church to be a bridge too, that would reconcile Protestantism with the Catholic Church, eliminating things that were seen by Protestants as an obstacle (Latin language, clericalism, "boring" masses, etc.). They thought that the needing of modern catholics would not be found in the traditional rites, and that a liturgical reform would make young Catholics happy and would prevent them from joining Protestant groups whose services are very vibrant and inspiring.

I have been reading some of the documents of Vatican II and as some people have posted, it's important to distinguish the original sayings and directives represented in the documents, which do not encourage any of the abuses that are found in Western Catholic parishes, and the personal aprecciations of liberal Bishops, priests and laity.

In the case of the aggiornamento, this was fulfilled in the Eastern Rites by absorbing and identufy itself with the Orthodox culture of the East. But the interpretation of Aggiornamento difered in the modern West, where the religious culture was becoming increasingly secular. And it was also given a different interpretation regarding indigenous cultures (africa, Latin America), it was thought that the Old Rites did not represent at all the religious culture of these populations and that Roman Catholicism should absorb and get mixed with indigenous traditions, which are in some cases, are the antithesis of the sacred.

In my opinion, this simplistic views of the 1970's do not work. It is a matter of fact that the current crisis in the West, is an obstacle to Church unity. The fact that Eastern catholics have returned to the traditional practices of Orthodoxy is very possitive, but the fact that Western catholics have this serious crisis of faith, which is hard to separate from the liturgical crisis, discourage Orthodox to join the catholic Communion. What would happen when there is not an Eastern Catholic parish near home?

Re: The Renewal of the Liturgy: An Eastern Novus Ordo? #78159 03/23/03 10:50 PM
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Axios Offline
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Robert,

As we Orthodox so often do, its the question not the answer.

Was VCII a revolution? I was once on retreat in with a guesthouse library conisisting of the out of date castaway books of these Catholic monks. I learned alot. These Catholics books of the 1940's and 1950's had the basics of VCII expected and referenced developments of the Catholic Litugical Movement going back decades.

I also think the Eastern Catholic Churches have seen the "aggiornamento". #1, and not insignificant would be more frequent reception of communion, a movement which is even coming to sections of Orthodoxy. Sermons are now a standard part of the Byz Catholic Divine Liturgy and becoming common in Orthodoxy. Other examples in pastoral and other matters are evident. Eastern Catholics have moved from Slavonic to venacular. Also, not insignificant in VCII is the idea that the Liturgy be understood. Catholics East and West now participate in the Liturgy rather than say rosaries during it. Popular education material on the meaning of the Liturgy is widespread and common.

You are right that Eastern Liturgical forms are considered more esoteric and grandios than the traditional Roman Rite by outsiders and before VCII by Easterners themselves. But instruction on the meaning of the Liturgy has reformed that.

Axios

Re: The Renewal of the Liturgy: An Eastern Novus Ordo? #78160 03/23/03 11:05 PM
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Dear Brethern,

I pray that the Eastern Churches do not have to experience what the Latin Rite did, lose a 1500 year old Tradition. Many TRC'S like myself are going to the Eastern Churches because they retain their traditions and hopefully will not submit to liberal modernisms.

In Christ,
James

Re: The Renewal of the Liturgy: An Eastern Novus Ordo? #78161 03/23/03 11:08 PM
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I realize that many people here, myself included, would naturally have difficulty with much or at least some of the writings of Bishop John Shelby Spong, retired bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark, NJ. However, in keeping with this forum's policy of respect for all hierarchs and other clerical figures, using titles that they enjoy within their own churches, we should not refer to him as an "anti-bishop" especially since he is still among the episcopal ranks in his own communion.

While I'm no expert on the Church of England, it is my understanding that the "Anglican spirit" demonstrates what is considered its great "economy" in matters of faith-expression and tradition exactly by being able to maintain within its confines, people with very diverse perspectives who are often at opposite poles of the spectrum. I know that this naturally presents a problem for Catholics and Orthodox, whose horizons are (rightfully) more defined when it comes to the "issues." But right or wrong, since it is not a hindrance for the Anglican communion, at least officially, we should show respect when referencing bishops or clergy that make up that denomination.

Before I am misunderstood, I am not giving approval to some of the bishop's very radical interpretations of Christianity, but am only pointing to the very productive policy we have always maintained at this board.

So, whether one agrees or disagrees with the man's interpretations, it should still be, in the normal interpretation of this forum's etiquette, "Bishop Spong" out of respect for both the Church of England and Christian charity in general.

God bless you all.

Fr. Joe

Re: The Renewal of the Liturgy: An Eastern Novus Ordo? #78162 03/23/03 11:50 PM
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Robert Horvath Offline OP
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Ok, but I am primarily focusing on discrepancies.
And one cannot say the intention of the Fathers was not to update the Church (Denial being not just a river in Egypt). One would have to be blind to say the Fathers desired intentional continuity with Trent's paradigm of Church and for that matter post-Trent Catholic political doctrine and modalities. For some reason at that time in world history Church leaders mostly saw that to create a dynamic relevant Church it must not only connect with the modern sesibilities of man, but also be able to reflect the progress of the humanities/sciences.

I cannot but find a grave fallacy in the argument that the aggiornamento for Eastern Catholics was more homilies/sermons, frequent communion, and a more scientific/archeological view of Liturgy and Praxis, a demystification of Mystery.

And if the core value of Vatican II was reconciliation of schismatics/heretics by appeasement liturgically and doctrinally (not Dogmatically) i.e. a Novus Ordo for Protestants and a more Orthodox looking/feeling Liturgy for Orthodox from the Eastern Catholic side; was this not a grave theological/administrative mishap in judgement? Orthodox take most seriously the "Lex Orandi/Lex Credendi" and judge a Communion outside of her by this standard. Worship takes primacy of place and if one's worship does not fully and concretely express the Orthodox Faith then it cannot be a vehicle of Divine Grace. Such would be the problem with the Pauline Sacramentary and Office perhaps in the eyes of the Orthodox. Unity and orthodoxy of faith cannot be seperated from competent liturgical forms and expressions which express that orthodoxy clearly and unambiguously.

Now regarding the issue that Vatican II doctrines had already been expressed before the Council this is true, but however early these ideologies were most certainly not in the spirit of the previous Council, Vatican I; it was to be a NEW ORDER which no longer decreed any Anathemas. When followed to its rightful conlusion can the seeds planted at Vatican II be regarded as sprouting weeds or grass? I believe it is absolutely necessary to put under a theological microscope this notion of having two types of Church within the Catholic Communion, one traditonal and one progressive/modern. We are dealing with oil co-mixed with water here.

Re: The Renewal of the Liturgy: An Eastern Novus Ordo? #78163 03/23/03 11:58 PM
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I think that Axios makes some very good observations about the "agiornamento" that has taken place within the Eastern Catholic and also some Orthodox churches after Vatican II. I would surmise that much of this "renewal" on the Orthodox side could be attributed to the general "spirit of the times" of the last several decades, some of which was inspired by the Second Vatican Council.

A Eucharistic renewal was much needed in the East as it was in the West, since infrequent communion was commonplace in both churches until recent times. In Greek Catholic and Orthodox parishes, communion was often "taken" only once or twice a year and then, it was approached only with confession "immediately" prior to the reception of the sacrament. While the mystery of repentance is a necessary preparation for holy communion, most would agree today that one need not be scrupulous about confessing at the very last possible moment before the Divine Liturgy, lest one sin in the meantime. I myself have encountered parishioners still effected by this mentality, who wait until minutes before liturgy begins to approach confession. Not only is this disruptive to the service times, but represents a mindset that reduces the Eucharist and the Divine Liturgy itself, to merely functional necessities or obligations to be "fulfilled" out of duty to church law.

The renewal of preaching is also a welcome composite of the more general spirit of renewal. While many of our priests did preach weekly (and some, for 45 minutes or more) in pre-conciliar days, it often took place at the end of the liturgy, before the dismissal, completely disassociated from the Liturgy of the Word. This could have been partially the result of the fact that the readings were rendered not in the vernacular, but in Church Slavonic, Ecclesiastical Greek or the like, which despite what some claim, the people did not readily understand well, especially the sensitive nuances that scripture contains. The refocusing of the preaching on scripture rather than merely catechism or church practices places the proclamation of the Word of God in closer connection to its understanding by the hearing congregation. Thus today we have a clearer distinction between a "sermon" and a "homily" the latter of which should always be employed at the Sunday Eucharist.

Other renewals in catechetics, evangelization, pastoral ministry, and the ability to understand the liturgy itself are positive developments that have occurred in both East and West. For the Orthodox East, this could be partially attributed to the stimulus that Vatican II had on Christianity in general.

Chief among patterns of renewal is how we view the Bible itself and the encouragement to read, it for clergy and laity alike.

Another contributing factor in renewal is the increase in availability of resources for understanding important aspects of the faith, through publishing, particularly works of liturgical and biblical scholarship. While this scholarship was well underway before the council, Vatican II was certainly gave a stamp of approval which was an impetus for the greater acceptance and dissemination of this material. Remember that before the council, Catholics (and likewise most Orthodox) were not encouraged to read either the Bible itself or scholarly works on scripture or liturgy. Rather, only the basic catechisms of the day were given official approbation as suitable for the laity's "level of understanding." Only the church was considered competent to understand and interpret scripture.

Certainly, there are many more patterns of renewal that often go unnoticed in the East but are known as characteristic of post-conciliar Western development. Even though Vatican II did not directly effect Orthodox in the way it did Catholics, I believe that the council created a climate that enabled both churches (and also some Protestant denominations) to focus on areas in which renewal was commonly desirable.

While it can be said with surety, that the spirit of Vatican II was grossly misinterpreted by many in the decades following, not all change or renewal is indicative or "liberal modernisms" but has and can continue to be of great benefit to the whole church. Many of our current practices such as more frequent communion and a greater appreciation for scripture are taken for granted today, but in actuality came about exactly because of the movement for reform and renewal that Vatican II and the ensuing decades inspired.

God bless you all.

Fr. Joe

Re: The Renewal of the Liturgy: An Eastern Novus Ordo? #78164 03/24/03 12:19 AM
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Robert Horvath Offline OP
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Glory to Jesus Christ!

Father, Bless!

Ok, Father supposing you are right that the aggiornamento for Eastern Catholics was frequent communion, vernacularization of liturgy, proper homiletical preaching within the context of the Liturgy of the Word, et al., then why did our Fathers during the Council not decide that we should travel the same road as the Latins in regard to liturgical reform and modernization? If restoration of our patrimony was only or partly a ploy to create eccesiastical union with the Orthodox then what after union? Are we to revise and cut/paste then?

Father/Bretheren what I am trying to get at is how can you seperate the fruit from the tree? Did not Vatican II by its very nature encourage experimentation/critical analysis with regard to Tradition (supposing that we do not seperate Tradition into degrees or levels of authority) and did not this theological position encorage the "abuses" and travesties done not only in its name, but also declared to be authoritative as if from some mandatum?

What is needed is the formation of Eastern Catholic thought in this matter. We not only must answer to history, (i.e. the justifications for the unias), but we must also answer to the future (i.e. if the Roman Rite falls apart what then; with Latin Catholics thinking, acting, and worshiping like Protestanti where will our credibility stand with the Orthodox and by then will we even care?)

Father, Bless!

Robert

Re: The Renewal of the Liturgy: An Eastern Novus Ordo? #78165 03/24/03 12:51 AM
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Joe T Offline
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.

Re: The Renewal of the Liturgy: An Eastern Novus Ordo? #78166 03/24/03 01:03 AM
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Robert Horvath Offline OP
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Thanks Joe for "trying" to answer my questions; better luck next time. You dodged all of them. wink :rolleyes: confused :p

God bless.

Re: The Renewal of the Liturgy: An Eastern Novus Ordo? #78167 03/24/03 01:14 AM
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Robert Horvath Offline OP
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And Joe in regard to Traditional Latin Catholic concerns...could we not say that we would be less grieved if our Liturgy was promulagated to be revised and verily butchered and rendered in essence the "same" but really ever so new and innovasionist. Hmmm...again another case of Eastern triumphalism. Let's support the restoration of our Traditions, but negate the Voice of those who have lost theirs. How sad!

Re: The Renewal of the Liturgy: An Eastern Novus Ordo? #78168 03/24/03 01:20 AM
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Dear Robert and all:

The blessing of the Lord be upon you all."

I hope that I can respond to your concerns in the way you mean them. I understand that you are very committed to our church and its liturgy and this is a needed attitude for everyone.

I don't think that the intentions of Vatican II in regard to East and West can be expressed in terms of, as you say, "having two types of Church within the Catholic Communion, one traditional and one progressive/modern. We are dealing with oil co-mixed with water here."

That is very true. The two churches and the concerns of each are completely different. How the liturgy was reformed in the Roman Rite cannot in any way be compared to any "restoration" or "renewal" that has taken place in our Byzantine liturgy. The two traditions are very different in both their histories, sensibilities and priorities.

I know many don't think so, but some others have said that the Roman liturgy was not at all changed to such a dramatic extent that its shape and historical tradition are no longer recognizable. I think there is some truth to this. What was accomplished was a bringing of the liturgy into the current times to make it understandable to the people, especially through the use of the vernacular. Not being a Roman Catholic, but having great familiarity with the post-conciliar liturgy, it appears to me that, besides the elimination of some uncrucial and perhaps repetitive prayers, the "ordo" of the mass is essentially the same as before Vatican II. And, if one studies some older forms of Western liturgies and even some Eastern ones, there are many commonalities between them all.

While our Divine Liturgy did not undergo an essential change, there have been both restorations and adaptations where these have been advantageous. Some minor examples are: we no longer normally take the ektenia of the catechumens or tell them to leave the church. These anachronistic sections are maintained in some jurisdictions that do not "drop" a single line of the service (as was also the case in our church previously), but in the majority of jurisdictions, Catholic and Orthodox, such usages that have outlived their time and function are simply no longer taken. Many have gone to a common recitation of the "prayer before communion" by priest and people, which previously was once said by the priest to himself and then repeated by the faithful later, directly before they approached to receive. I think that is a positive step. . . .

But above these minor reforms, what did occur in the Eastern churches that is both notable and praiseworthy was a greater emphasis on liturgical reform in the sense of bringing the liturgy as it was used by this or that tradition into line with a more pristine and complete representation. This began for the Ruthenian Churches (Ukrainian and Rusyn) with the sequential publication of official liturgical books by the Holy See in the 1940s. What this did was allow the churches to reconnect with the liturgy without latinizations that became commonplace for a good number of decades prior. The thinking was that to accomplish authentic liturgical renewal, one must first be comfortable with the "received texts" so as to dispel confusion brought about by other reforms that indeed violated the integrity of the liturgy. If it took several hundred years to bring the liturgy to its hybrid-Latinized form, it will also take some time before the churches can have a genuine feeling for what the shape and spirit of the liturgy should be like. Only after that can "revision" of the entire liturgy even be considered.

I do not think however, that there needs to be or will be a radical revision of the Byzantine liturgy as some are afraid of. Ours has been a gradual renewal of authentic texts as needs present themselves. The Roman revisions came about in a more complete manner, with virtually no change from Trent to Vatican II. I don't see this happening with us. It is partially because of the fact that the minor adaptations have been occurring right along and partially because of the difference in the structure and nature of the two "rites" themselves. In the Eastern church there has not been the sense of "waiting for Rome" to act before changes are implemented. Since there is a variety of traditions and jurisdictions, each has undergone some amount of change in every period. Maybe in part, this has been the reason that many do not see the need for an "overhaul" of the liturgy, but rather, following history, are content to allow the liturgy to develop authentically, in response to the needs of time and place. Although the Roman Rite is now very flexible, this was not always the case, but I do believe that the Byzantine liturgy has always had a good amount of this flexibility which has thus allowed it to retain its integrity while still addressing necessary adaptations.

So while there has been no "official" or "across the board" revision of the liturgy in the Byzantine churches, many of the smaller changes have occurred out of usefulness and practicality, often having a domino effect from one jurisdiction to another and also resulting from a greater reading of liturgical scholarship. Another major reason for lack of an official revision of the Byzantine liturgy is the fact that it is used by both Orthodox and Catholic jurisdictions and any such complete revision would necessitate the cooperation of all these churches to make it effective and meaningful. I don't know if such a reform will ever occur nor do I see its urgency. What is important is that sensible changes such as mentioned above be employed in order to allow the liturgy to be more prayerful and meaningful. So certainly, a universal reform of the Byzantine liturgy is neither desirable or practical without the cooperation of the whole church and yes, ecumenical concerns are major factors that dictate that no one jurisdiction should undertake a major revision by itself, since this would only cause greater division. While there is no easy answer to the ifs and what's of Byzantine liturgical overhaul, I feel that the nature of the liturgy itself in the East circumvents any need for drastic change. At the same time, the Byzantine world is used to variation between this or that particular tradition, so differences encountered in these usages are no surprise. When change occurs it is usually subtle and localized which then sometimes becomes more widely accepted by a greater number or churches, as their needs and sensibilities coincide.

I hope this helps. It's an unwieldy and many-faceted discussion.

Fr. Joe

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