Thursday, October 12, 2017


Pope Francis celebrated the Centenary of the Congregation for Oriental Churches (Eastern Rite) this morning at the Basilica of St. Mary Major. The chanting, particularly of the Propers (which papal Masses always have, by the way) is splendid.

To bad the pope couldn't wear his crown along with the bishops of the Eastern Rite who make no apologies for their crowns.


TJM said...

The Papal Tiara and the Sedia Gestatoria should be restored!

John Nolan said...

In Italian - why? Also, Francis simply mumbles a 'low' Mass; solemn Masses in either form are sung. Apart from Introit and Communio the Propers are never chanted in papal Masses. Instead of the Gradual we have a 'responsorial psalm' in an Italian operatic style. And what's with the dolly-bird reading from the ambo? Eastern Churches do not have women readers.

If this is your exemplar for the OF Mass, I can only conclude that you have set the bar very low.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Maybe it is a low bar, but nonetheless a Mass that could be in every parish in the world if it were mandated to be so.

Pope Francis can't sing, I don't recall the EF Mass not being chanted because a priest had laryngitis or couldn't sing, but I suspect it happened.

Pope Francis even used Italian at an international gathering of priests when I was in Rome four years ago and i was bothered by it.

ByzRus said...

Wouldn't it have been more sensible for liturgy celebrating the centenary of the Congregation to have been that of one off the 'Oriental' Churches? If His Holiness is incapable of celebrating one of the liturgies for which he is responsible, why couldn't he have attended in choir? Additionally, there wasn't one who is ordained to the minor order of reader available for the epistle? I acknowledge that these are questions that cannot be answered here. However, for such a celebration, to impose the NO in Italian on the eastern churches is puzzling indeed!

TJM - As Msgr. Guido cannot seem to pry that melting Jesus staff/ferula from HH's hands, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for either of the Papal Tiara or Sedia Gestatoria to return anytime soon.

Henry said...

Indeed, what a low bar it is, when a Mass celebrated with numerous liturgical flaws is presented as exemplary, merely because of the absence of any glaring buffoonery.

Matthew Hoffman said...

It's also unfortunate to see (although I know it's his style) the Pope wear such plain vestments. I don't think I've ever seen a pope look so "simple." The dalmatics basically looked like nice bed sheets. Why could the Eastern Catholics keep all their beauty, but the Western Church not? It's such a shame how we were hijacked by liberals who wanted to banish all forms of beauty forever.

Victor said...

"Pope Francis can't sing, ..."
Can a man even become a priest in the Eastern rites if he cannot sing?

DJR said...

John Nolan said... "Eastern Churches do not have women readers."

Incorrect. Our parish has had women readers for years.

So did two of our former parishes.

For a typical example, see Youtube, "Byzantine Liturgy, Crossing the Universe," filmed at St. John's in Pittsburgh, with the metropolitan.

John Nolan said...


Your parish may have compromised itself, but I can assure you that the Ukrainian Catholic Church of the Eastern Rite does not do so on this side of the pond.

My sister-in-law is a Ukrainian Catholic who has recently retired from a very high-powered job with the United Nations. Yet in Rome she was scandalized when, at Sunday Mass at St-Paul-without-the-Walls, a woman read the epistle. 'This would not happen in my Church!'

I had to agree. There were at least a dozen clergy present who could have performed the same function.

ByzRus said...


John Nolan is correct. While there is no question that women have acted as "Readers" out of necessity or, some other factor, they will never be recognized as such via a minor order.

DJR said...

Byz and John:

My comment didn't have anything to do with minor orders.

I was just commenting on whether women read the epistle at the liturgy. It has become a common practice that I've seen for decades now. I've seen this in Parma and Passaic, and the link I provided shows it in Pittsburgh, in the presence of Met Skurla.

It's common.

I don't recall seeing the practice at the parish in NM, which I've been to when visiting out there.

I'm not advocating it, mind you, but I'm just stating what I've seen in my own parishes starting many years ago.

One of the women readers in my parish is actually Ukrainian Catholic, and we have several Ukrainian families in the parish. They don't seem to have a problem with it.

The nearest Ukrainian parish is fairly far away, but I would venture a guess that they use women readers. They have a female cantor.

I have seen women readers at a Melkite parish as well.

In fact, one time I witnessed a nun distributing Holy Communion at the next parish from my former parish, both of which are part of Parma. She was a sister of Saint Basil out of Uniontown. They taught at the school.

I complained to the bishop's right hand man about that since he was a friend of a priest friend of mine, and the practice was stopped, but the people of that parish were accustomed to it apparently. No one seemed to mind.

I was shocked. I had never seen that before, although I had seen it in Latin parishes.

ByzRus said...


I both understand and have witnessed this as well. My point is that they cannot be tonsured as a reader. As this role appears to be resurfacing throughout the Eparchies, perhaps substitutions will become obsolete. Readers are noted within the attached and, Mark Thomas, if you key word search "Axios" you can see its usage in the Byzantine Churches.

John Nolan said...

Perhaps the Ukrainian Church in North America is more 'liberal' than it is in the UK. I understand that the liturgy is partly in English, whereas here it is in Ukrainian or Old Church Slavonic (not that I can tell the difference between them!)

DJR said...


Thanks for the link. Father Rabayda serviced our parish for a time and was well loved.

John, I suspect that the Ukrainian Church in NA is more liberal than in the UK, simply because there are more Ukrainians here. Although we are not Ukrainians, some of our parishes have Ukrainians in them due to logistics.

At Ukrainian parishes that have multiple liturgies here in the US, oftentimes there is a liturgy 100% in Ukrainian and then another one at a different time 100% in English.

At Byzantine parishes, you will hear Slavonic rarely, usually only in hymns, at least here in the US.

Because of the severe priest shortage we are experiencing, the Byzantine bishops in the US are trying to bring in priests to cross over from the Ukrainians to serve in our eparchies. I know two of them, and they are outstanding priests.

The bishops hit a snag when the US administration changed an immigration policy regarding the ability to speak English, but the rumor is that our parish may have a priest by the beginning of next year. We are presently without a resident priest.

Having Ukrainian priests in Byzantine parishes in the US would almost ensure a 100% English liturgy, as using Ukrainian in a Byzantine parish would be a big no-no, although personally I wouldn't care. I just want an orthodox, holy priest.

Throwing together different groups into the same parish (Ukrainians, Ruthenians, Romanians, Hungarians, et cetera) happened in the early 20th century, resulting in a mess. It didn't work.

ByzRus said...

DJR, John -

By the late 50s and into the 60s, the second generation after the great immigration were becoming adults. Already, the prayer language of their grandparents was beginning to be lost after 50+ years in the U.S. Additionally, with the collapse of the mining industry and post-war population redistribution, urban parishes were seeing the beginnings of a downturn and suburban parishes were being built. Also, with the Cold War nearing its height, appearing too non-American was not desirable. All of these factors came together to put strain on the near exclusive use of Church Slavonic. By the '70s and in an attempt to not seem like so much of an 'ethnic club' (the goal being to attract pan-ethnic new membership), English would take over as the predominant language within the Byzantine Catholic Church as well as the OCA. I suspect something similar happened within the U.S. Ukrainian Catholic Church (as evidenced by their non-reliance on 3 bar crosses on churches built during this era) but, honestly, I'm not as knowledgeable about their history.

DJR - The attached might interest you (if you haven't already seen it). This is Fr. Lewis Raybada's home parish of St. John the Baptist in Lansford, PA. Though I've driven past this church several times going to see family in nearby Hazleton and Nesquehoning, I've unfortunately never been passing when the church is open. As you can see, this cirkev is really a treasure particularly the Carpathian style iconostas that was likely carved in Europe as was the case for most churches of this vintage. Enjoy!

DJR said...


Thanks for the new link. Beautiful.

I seldom look at ECL and therefore miss a lot of the photos/news, unless my wife brings something to my attention.

I noticed Father Stephen on the other side of the bishop in the ordination photos. He served at our parish for a time as well. I guess I should look at it more often.