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#324678 06/12/09 10:39 AM
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Is it true that the Eritrean Catholic Church has an Eastern-rite (Ethiopian rite) hierarchy only, but has a large Latin-rite minority?

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In 1990 there were about 30,000 Latin-rite Catholics in the Apostolic Vicariate of Asmara and about 60,000 Ethiopic-rite Catholics in the Eparchy of Asmara.

In 1995 the Apostolic Vicariate was suppressed, and two new Eparchies created: Barentu and Keren. In 2006, the three Ethiopic-rite Eparchies reported a total of 156,337 members, which would include both Latin-rite and Ethiopic-rite Catholics.

For more info, please see CNEWA's entry on the Ethiopian Catholic Church [cnewa.org]:

Quote
[...] The Catholic bishops of Ethiopia and Eritrea compose a single episcopal conference whose headquarters are in Addis Ababa. In these countries all the jurisdictions are geographical, and include worshipping communities of both the Latin and Ethiopian traditions. The three dioceses in Eritrea and three in central and northern Ethiopia generally use the Ethiopian (Ge’ez) rite, and fall under the jurisdiction of the Oriental Congregation. In southern Ethiopia there are five Apostolic Vicariates and two Apostolic Prefectures mostly of the Latin rite with about 500,000 faithful under the jurisdiction of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. The membership figure below is the sum of the six dioceses in the two countries that depend on the Oriental Congregation. In 2006 there were 205 parishes in the six dioceses served by 176 secular priests and 438 priests who belonged to religious orders. There were also 1,046 women religious and 142 seminarians. [...]

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Glory to Jesus Christ!
According to the Annuario Pontificio, those three eparchies in Eriteria had 149,788 members in 2008.
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Yes, Asianpilgrim, they do.

Overlapping jurisdictions are not the norm. They are an economia, a concession for the good of souls, to permit the retention of rite in places where other issues would tend to remove the distinction between the different churches.

Ethiopia and Eritria have not had this problem. Many of the clerics are biritual, however, in order to be able to serve both sets of communities. Most of the bishops of the Ethiopian Catholic Church were biritual priests as well.

Ironically, Ethiopia is the exemplar of what should have happened in the US circa 1880-1920, but didn't.

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Let me offer the same caution in speaking of our Oriental Catholic brethren that we are quick to invoke in speaking of our own Churches. The distinction of Rite and Church is just as critical as it is to Churches which serve according to the Byzantine/Constantinoplian Rite.

Firstly, there is no Ethiopian or Ge'ez Rite, despite flagrant use of the terminology, including by the Ethiopians themselves. The Ethiopian Church sui iuris is of the Alexandrian Rite, within which there are now, effectively, two traditions - Coptic and Ethiopian (or Ge'ez).

Secondly, there is not an Eritrean Catholic Church. There are Eritrean Catholics, who form a constituent body within the Ethiopian Catholic Church. Unquestionably, they are a substantial group within that Church, enough so that the Church itself is commonly now spoken of as the Ethiopian (& Eritrean) Catholic Church - with or without parens. However, to this point in time, the two have not been separated. Could it happen? Certainly, and there are factors that would suggest that it might and even, perhaps, should.

There are some historic and current national and cultural tensions between the two peoples; those factored in the separation of the Ethiopian and Eritrean Tewahedo Orthodox Churches. Such have not reared their ugly heads in the instance of the Catholics, but it's not a natural pairing. A degree of separation can be deduced in the fact that (in the diaspora) communities of the two peoples generally worship separately, in part attributable to using different liturgical languages (Ge'ez versus Tigrina).

Interestingly, there are approximately twice the number of Eritrean Catholics (~ 140,000) as there are Ethiopian Catholics (~ 70,000). That in itself strikes me as a potential basis for the former to ultimately become an ecclesial entity unto itself. While I think Rome is probably generally disinclined to create additional Churches sui iuris, the prospect for doing so in this instance has to its favor that it has none of the political implications or potential backlash associated with it that plague all matters involving the Eastern Churches in Eastern Europe.

(Rome has actually taken the unusual step, in the latest edition of Annuario Pontificio of separating the Macedonian Exarchate from the other jurisdictions ascribed as Byzantine Catholics of the Eparchy of Kriveczi (i.e., Croatian Catholic Church sui iuris). So, the possibility already exists, however far-fetched it may seem, that we could see a Church sui iuris created in our lifetime.)

But, in the meantime, let's honor the distinctions that do exist.

Originally Posted by aramis
Overlapping jurisdictions are not the norm.

I fail to see how one can allege this - not as it applies to Latin and Eastern/Oriental Catholic jurisdictions. In actual fact, there are very few places in our historic lands (and none of which I can think in the diaspora) in which overlapping jurisdictions are not the norm. Ethiopia, Eritrea, Albania, Bulgaria, India, and Italy are the sole instances that come immediately to mind - and I'm very uncertain that there are any others.

In places such as Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria - where the Latin presence is negligable - there is ordinarily a single Latin jurisdiction, often on the order of a Vicariate Apostolic. Its jurisdiction is generally coterminous with the bounds of the country, although most if not all of its churches will be in a major city (where its congregations will consist, in large measure, of non-indigenous persons). Meanwhile, the Melkites, Maronites, Chaldeans, Armenians, and Syriacs will each have their own jurisdictions - overlapping one another - the number and geographic bounds of each being dictated by which Church is predominant in a particular country.

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They are an economia, a concession for the good of souls, to permit the retention of rite in places where other issues would tend to remove the distinction between the different churches.

Rather than an economia, they are a necessity. The nations I cited as being essentially devoid of such are places in which there is little or no necessity for them solely because a particular Church is so predominant as to make the need for such superfluous.

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Ethiopia and Eritria have not had this problem. Many of the clerics are biritual, however, in order to be able to serve both sets of communities. Most of the bishops of the Ethiopian Catholic Church were biritual priests as well.

Ethiopia, in particular, most certainly had this problem historically. The efforts of Latin clerics nearly destroyed the indigenous Church. While it is true that biritualism is very prevalent among the native clergy, it is no accident that the Latin jurisdictions are clustered, as those not of the Ethiopian Church tend to inhabit regions that were most closely associated with the former colonial rulers - Latins all. Thus, there is not a great demand for the Ethiopian clergy to serve outside their own Church and Rite.

Quote
Ironically, Ethiopia is the exemplar of what should have happened in the US circa 1880-1920, but didn't.

I can't fathom what you're saying here. There is no comparison. We're speaking of a country in which the vast majority of Catholics are of an Oriental Church and there is not the multicultural environment that existed in the US during the era of Archbishops Ireland and Ryan and St Alexis. What happened in the US was inexcusable but the situation in Ethiopia does not offer a counterpoint for 'how things should have been done.'

Many years,

Neil


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Italy seems to have a double jurisdiction for Greek-Catholics. There is the historic Italo-Greek (or Italo-Albanian) jurisdiction, with Eparchies at Lungro (in Calabria) and Piana (in Sicily) and the "Eparchial Monastery" at Grottaferratta, and now there is also the Apostolic Visitature for Ukrainian Greek-Catholics. I have no idea why it was felt necessary to have two parallel Greek-Catholic jurisdictions in Italy.

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Originally Posted by Serge Keleher
Italy seems to have a double jurisdiction for Greek-Catholics. There is the historic Italo-Greek (or Italo-Albanian) jurisdiction, with Eparchies at Lungro (in Calabria) and Piana (in Sicily) and the "Eparchial Monastery" at Grottaferratta, and now there is also the Apostolic Visitature for Ukrainian Greek-Catholics. I have no idea why it was felt necessary to have two parallel Greek-Catholic jurisdictions in Italy.

Bless, Father,

I'm not sure I follow. The Eparchies of Lungro and Piana and the Monastery are geographic jurisdictions, while the Visitature (is that a word?) is bound by geographics only insofar as the bounds of the nation of Italy - besides which it is a personal jurisdiction, extending to all to Greek-Catholics of the UGCC within those territorial bounds.

Many years,

Neil


"One day all our ethnic traits ... will have disappeared. Time itself is seeing to this. And so we can not think of our communities as ethnic parishes, ... unless we wish to assure the death of our community."
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Am I imagining things or was there another post here a moment ago?


"One day all our ethnic traits ... will have disappeared. Time itself is seeing to this. And so we can not think of our communities as ethnic parishes, ... unless we wish to assure the death of our community."
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Neil,

I notice that you use the terms "rite" and "tradition" differently from what we see for example in CCEO can. 28 § 2: "The rites treated in this code, unless otherwise stated, are those which arise from the Alexandrine, Antiochene, Armenian, Chaldean and Constantinopolitan traditions." In other words, this canon envisages five major Eastern liturgical traditions, each of which gives rise to one or more Rites. Thus, the Armenian tradition gives rise to the Armenian rite; the Chaldean tradition gives rise to both the Chaldean rite and the Syro-Malabar rite; and the Alexandrine tradition gives rise to both the Coptic rite and the Ethiopic rite.

The Annuario Pontificio 2006 ("Historical Notes," pp. 1858–1861), uses a terminology which corresponds with the canon. The Annuario talks of the Coptic rite and the Ethiopic rite within the larger Alexandrine liturgical/ritual tradition. The reason for treating the Ethiopic rite as separate from the Coptic one is that "In Ethiopia, the Alexandrine liturgy has undergone profound changes and has been enriched by many new texts, some of which show the influence of Antiochene texts, generally known through Arabic translations" (Annuario Pontificio 2006, p. 1859, my translation).

As for the geographical distribution of the Ethiopic and Latin rites in Ethiopia and Eritrea, this follows closely the local linguistic and cultural divides. The Ethiopic rite is strongest in those areas where the Ethiopian Church has traditionally been strong, i.e. Eritrea and the north and centre of Ethiopia. Ethiopic-rite Catholics are strongest in Eritrea, which was an Italian colony from 1885 to 1941. They are not very strong at all in Ethiopia itself, which was only occupied by Italy from 1935 to 1941.

In Ethiopia, the Ethiopian Catholic Church has its eparchies mainly in the north of the country, in areas where people speak Ethiopian Semitic languages like Tigre, Tigrinya and Amharic. These languages are related to Ge'ez and those who speak them have been the traditional rulers of Ethiopia.

The Latin apostolic vicariates and apostolic prefectures are located mainly in the south of the country, where Cushitic (e.g. Oromo and Somali) and Omotic languages dominate. Here much of the population is non-Christian, and the Latin missionaries perhaps give the people here an opportunity to become Christians while keeping their own cultural and linguistic traditions.

Therefore, I would suggest that the clustering of Latin jurisdictions in the south of Ethiopia has more to do with the ethnic and linguistic makeup of Ethiopia and less to do with the Italian occupation from 1935 to 1941.

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Originally Posted by Irish Melkite
Am I imagining things or was there another post here a moment ago?
No, you're not imagining things. I just deleted the post because I wanted to do some more editing before posting it again. Sorry!

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By the way, the Ethiopian Catholic Church has a very informative website: http://www.ecs.org.et/

Unfortunately, I haven't found a website for the Catholic Church in Eritrea.

It gives information on each eparchy, vicariate, and prefecture, and even lists parishes and parish priests. Latin-rite priests are referred to as "Father" and Ethiopic-rite priests are referred to as "Abba."

It seems that, unlike in India, Eastern-rite clergy can serve in Latin-rite jurisdictions without changing to the Latin rite. There is for example this picture of the "Latin" Vicar Apostolic of Meki, the Eritrean-born Bishop Abraham Desta:

[Linked Image]

Apparently, the situation of the Catholic Church in Ethiopia and Eritrea is quite different from what we are used to in Europe and America. But it looks like it is different in a good way smile

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Originally Posted by Latin Catholic
I notice that you use the terms "rite" and "tradition" differently from what we see for example in CCEO can. 28 § 2: "The rites treated in this code, unless otherwise stated, are those which arise from the Alexandrine, Antiochene, Armenian, Chaldean and Constantinopolitan traditions." In other words, this canon envisages five major Eastern liturgical traditions, each of which gives rise to one or more Rites. Thus, the Armenian tradition gives rise to the Armenian rite; the Chaldean tradition gives rise to both the Chaldean rite and the Syro-Malabar rite; and the Alexandrine tradition gives rise to both the Coptic rite and the Ethiopic rite.

LC,

Interestingly, in the now 25 years since the CCEO was promulgated, I've only seen this interpretation put to Canon 28 twice - both within the past month.

To accept that interpretation would put us back in time almost a half-century, to the days when people spoke of a Melkite Rite, a Ukrainian Rite, a Malabarese Rite, a Coptic Rite, etc - a delineation that was rejected in recognition of the sui iuris status of our Churches.
Yes, the Rites arose from the traditions of the places named. Your sentence following extends the meaning as envisaging those traditions giving rise to one or more Rites. That is not the common understanding or expression of the Eastern and Oriental Churches.

For a long time, each group of Eastern and Oriental Catholics was referred to by its name (most often reflective of its historical cultural/national identity or ethnic origin), followed by the word “Rite”. Thus, you would hear references to someone being of the “Ukrainian Rite” or to “Melkite Rite Catholics”. At the urging of the Eastern and Oriental Catholic hierarchs participating in the Second Vatican Council, particularly His Beatitude Maximos IV Saigh, Patriarch of Antioch & All the East, of Alexandria and of Jerusalem of the Greek-Melkites, of blessed memory, the Church recognized the status of the Eastern and Oriental Catholic Churches as sui iuris ecclesial entities, each of which uses a particular Rite.

Thus, it is a disparagement (as well as inaccurate) to substitute “Rite” for “Church” in the name of any of these bodies.

The distinction is made in Canons 27 and 28 of the Eastern Code:

Canon 27

• A group of Christian faithful united by a hierarchy, according to the norm of law, which the supreme authority of the Church, expressly or tacitly, recognizes as sui iuris, is called in this Code a Church sui iuris.

Canon 28

• 1. A Rite is the liturgical, theological, spiritual, and disciplinary patrimony, culture, and circumstances of history of a distinct people, by which its own manner of living the faith is manifested in each Church sui iuris.

Beyond the codified definition of “Rite”, it should be further understood to be the collected liturgical patrimony or heritage by which a body of faithful conduct their religious life. It is more than just differences in language, culture, and vesture, although those are often among the most immediately obvious distinctions. It's often thought of as strictly applicable to liturgical worship service. It actually includes the totality of a people's religious expression, including their sacraments, sacramentals, devotionals, prayers, music, and even aspects of their religious artistic expression and ecclesial architecture.

Interestingly, in the West, persons belong to a Rite and Rites to the (Latin) Church (which uses more than a single Rite). In the East, persons belong to a Church and the Church (in some instances, more than a single Church) to a Rite. (In the cases of the Armenian, and Maronite Rites, each Rite is used by only a single Church sui iuris and, in both of these instances, the Church's name and that of the Rite are identical.)

By way of example:

• most Western Catholics belong to the Latin Rite with smaller numbers adhering to the Ambrosian, Bragan, and Mozarabic Rites, all of which Rites belong to the Latin Church; while,

• some Eastern Catholics belong to the Melkite Church, which (with 13 other Churches) serves in accord with the Byzantine Rite.

Tradition is a distinction within a Rite that principally reflects variations of culture, sometimes including ecclesial language. Within some Traditions, there are also what are styled Rescensions.

Rescension is a distinction in characteristics of the form of worship that is unique to one or more of the Churches or their constituent canonical jurisdictions that follow a particular Tradition (or, in some instances, a particular Rite in those instances where there is no intervening break-down by Tradition). Historically, "Recension" has been a term used in conjunction with liturgy only as to the Ruthenians; however, there remains a level of distinction in the praxis of some of the Churches which falls beneath that of Tradition, but is more than a Usage. For that purpose, unless/until someone offers a better choice by which to term such differentiations, Rescension serves the purpose reasonably well.

Church is a sui iuris body of faithful which worships according to a particular Rite.

Usage is a term that ordinarily denotes limited, localized differences within a Church itself (as opposed to a Rescension, which generally occurs at the level of Rite or Tradition). Although employed in the Latin Church {e.g., the Anglican Usage), it is not anywhere officially applied to any of the Eastern or Oriental Churches. However, it is the most logical term to describe liturgical praxis that accommodates specific, localized variations in language and/or ceremony. These not uncommonly require qualification by jurisdictional limits known to be applicable to them.

Jurisdictions or canonical entitiesy within a Church sui iuris come into consideration in this context when some distinctive consideration (i.e., Tradition, Rescension, or Usage) is either applicable to or excludes one or more specific jurisdictions (e.g., the single Eparchy of the Romanian Church sui iuris that serves according to a different Rescension than all the other jurisdictions, or the single parish of the Ruthenian Metropolia which serves according to the Greek Tradition, as opposed to the Slav Tradition)

Quote
The Annuario Pontificio 2006 ("Historical Notes," pp. 1858–1861), uses a terminology which corresponds with the canon. The Annuario talks of the Coptic rite and the Ethiopic rite within the larger Alexandrine liturgical/ritual tradition. The reason for treating the Ethiopic rite as separate from the Coptic one is that "In Ethiopia, the Alexandrine liturgy has undergone profound changes and has been enriched by many new texts, some of which show the influence of Antiochene texts, generally known through Arabic translations" (Annuario Pontificio 2006, p. 1859, my translation).

Indeed, the distinction drawn between the service of the Alexandrine liturgies in the Coptic Church and the Ethiopian Church is accurate. It does not, however, serve to make either a Rite, just as the unique liturgical and para-liturgical praxis of the Knanaites does not make for a Knanaite Rite within the Syro-Malabar Church sui iuris.

Quote
As for the geographical distribution of the Ethiopic and Latin rites in Ethiopia and Eritrea, this follows closely the local linguistic and cultural divides. The Ethiopic rite is strongest in those areas where the Ethiopian Church has traditionally been strong, i.e. Eritrea and the north and centre of Ethiopia. Ethiopic-rite Catholics are strongest in Eritrea, which was an Italian colony from 1885 to 1941. They are not very strong at all in Ethiopia itself, which was only occupied by Italy from 1935 to 1941.

The strength or lack thereof has less to do with Italian occupation than it has to do with the correspondingly greater strength of the Tewahedo Orthodox Church in those same areas. Notably, the Tewahedo Church benefited greatly from the backlash against the colonial missioners who labored (long before the Italian occupation) to impose latinization on the peoples there.

I'd also note that Protestant Christians are significantly more prevalent in the areas served by the Vicariates than elsewhere in Ethiopia - making up somewhere in the vicinity of 50% of the population there and arguing strongly for a historical Western presence/influence in that region.

Many years,

Neil


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Originally Posted by Latin Catholic
By the way, the Ethiopian Catholic Church has a very informative website: http://www.ecs.org.et/

Unfortunately, I haven't found a website for the Catholic Church in Eritrea.

It gives information on each eparchy, vicariate, and prefecture, and even lists parishes and parish priests. Latin-rite priests are referred to as "Father" and Ethiopic-rite priests are referred to as "Abba."

It seems that, unlike in India, Eastern-rite clergy can serve in Latin-rite jurisdictions without changing to the Latin rite. There is for example this picture of the "Latin" Vicar Apostolic of Meki, the Eritrean-born Bishop Abraham Desta:

[Linked Image]

Apparently, the situation of the Catholic Church in Ethiopia and Eritrea is quite different from what we are used to in Europe and America. But it looks like it is different in a good way smile

The Ethiopian website has been up and functional for several years now and is, indeed, of high quality. There is not a website for the Eritrean eparchies, although there is some coverage of them on the Ethiopian site. I am not certain whether Abuna Abraham, who visited the US a while ago, is an Ethiopian or Latin bishop.

Much of the attitudes that you note are directly attributable to the fact that, in a country where the majority of Catholics are not of the Latin Church, hierarchical authority is vested in the non-Latin Church. The episcopal conference is one and has been notable for its collegiality. Unlike India, where there have been recurrences of division and tension again within the last year, the Ethiopian and Eritrean Catholic Church has no need to be on guard to assure its status.

Many years,

Neil


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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethiopian_Catholic_Church

This may help explain current situation of the Catholic Church in Ethiopia and Eritrea.

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Neil,

I did not mean to say that a Rite is the same as a Church. I would rather say for example that the Ethiopian Catholic Church sui iuris uses the Ethiopic Rite, which belongs to the Alexandrine tradition.

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