Thursday, January 4, 2018


Marc writes this comment on the post below this one:

I have seen expressed the opinion that moving from the Latin Rite to the Eastern Rite is a refreshing change because, among other things, it means that one's attendance at a particular liturgy is no longer a ecclesio-political statement. 

In other words, due to the deliberateness involved, attending the traditional Latin Mass is almost necessarily a statement of one's affiliation with and support for a particular doctrinal-ecclesiological movement that is opposed to the "mainstream" situation in the Roman Church. On the other hand, one does not find that sort of thing inherent in the Eastern Rites. As you say, the liturgy simply is what it is and what it has been so without the strings attached.

I tried to fight this mentality at my previous parish in Macon. There the EF Mass was mainstreamed and did not have an ideological bent to it. i offered the EF Mass once a month and at a regular OF Mass time of 12:10 PM.

In addition we had an every Tuesday low Mass in the EF and we had the EF High Mass for special occasions such as our patronal feast of St. Joseph and the November 2nd Requiem. 

In other words, the EF Mass became just one more way for us to make the Mass more solemn or more special and people appreciated that.

Because we celebrated the OF Mass with dignity, solemnity and high reverence, people did not associate the EF Mass a protest against the OF Mass, although many would say that the EF Mass seem more intrinsically reverent, not because of the Latin, but the other elements, especially the ad orientem and kneeling for Holy Commuion. In fact many said they would prefer the EF Mass to the OF if it could be in the vernacular.

Of course my homilies were always mainstream and orthodox and I did not cater what I would say to the EF crowd or the OF crowd. They got the same theology and doctrine at both. 

Yes, the Liturgy in the Roman Rite to include both forms of the one Roman Rite should simply be what it is and what it has been without ideological strings attached. 


Marc said...

Having attended your masses in the past, I can attest that what you say about your sermons is true. However, I am not suggesting that it is the sermons or the particular priest that contribute to the phenomenon. Instead, it is the segregational and the necessarily intentional aspect of attendance at the Latin Mass that causes the mentality.

In other words, deliberately going to the traditional mass is a self-conscious decision that is an outward manifestation of one's "side" in the current ecclesio-political crisis of the Roman Church.

When one goes to the Eastern Rites, however, one is able to engage in worship as worship, without necessarily making such a statement. One is simply dropped into an existing tradition with the affectation that often results from the self-conscious nature of going against the grain of modern Roman liturgics by opting into the traditional liturgy.

Anonymous said...

One could say that the very act of "moving" from the Latin Rite to an Eastern Rite is, itself, an "ecclesio-political" statement. Remaining there, the statement perdures.

Attending mass, celebrated in the Traditional Ordinary Form, is not, for 99.9+% of those who attend an expression of a "doctrinal-ecclesiological" movement. It is for them, no statement of opposition any one or any ideology.

rcg said...

What Marc says is amplified when the choice of attending a Latin Mass requires attending another parish. This affronts many people on many levels. The one that is most confusing for me, however, is the perception that Latin Mass parishes are hot beds of sedevacantists.

Our local Methodist Church advertises a ‘Traditional’ service for 8 a.m. Sundays. My previous parish has more reserved Mass at 8, as well. It is not remotely an EF liturgy but there are plenty of people who prefer it and I have not noticed any fueds breaking out among the families. In fact, the factor I have heard cited most often and met with nodding approval is the more prayerful atmosphere and the music. Having a TLM on every Sunday does not seen scandalous at all. Rather than having it at noon or after, it should be at 0730. I bet the attendance would greater than other times.

ByzRus said...

Anonymous @ 11:57 -

Optically, there is some truth to your suggestion. However, my observation is, particularly when I've discussed this migration with Latin priests, that migrating from OF to Byzantine isn't as political as, say, OF to TLM. "That's no problem" or, "Isn't that part of your background anyhow?" have been said to me. I did not have an agenda going from one to the other - I simply started going and the enchantment of it I drew me into wanting to go more which, I have. Having been around it for many years, there isn't a learning curve for me in terms of Eastern spirituality. Last, some newcomers are so enthusiastic perhaps, unrealistically so (in terms of expectations) and at the same time overwhelmed by what is effectively Orthodoxy, they burn themselves out and ultimately drift away. Given my background, I've not experienced this and have taken advantage of opportunities as they've become available to become better rounded in the liturgies that were formerly not as familiar.

That said, I arrived at the Byzantine Church with baggage from the Latin church. It was just there - most of us here have at least some of it. After noticing that Byzantine Catholics didn't relate well to that baggage, I tried my best to not discuss it so as not to put people off. After a time, that baggage has drifted away and, I'm just another member of the congregation. I participate in activities and have made friends easily. It is just a relaxing environment where I look forward to liturgy, the spirituality and feel totally free of that which perplexes and vexes so many on the OF side. Increasingly, I read this blog that features quality discussion from quality people regarding the stylistic/political tug of war between OF, OF Contemporary, OF Traditional and TLM and I think to myself, I'm happy to be largely free of that. When I do attend the OF, there is culture shock regarding the hymns, vestments, misconceptions regarding participation and the seemingly endless stream of people entering and exiting the sanctuary.

Marc -

Regarding your earlier remarks, to me, you are spot-on. There's politics everywhere but, nothing like the battlefield the liturgy has been turned into within the Latin Church. Excluding your average pew sitter, every move, 6 candles, lace alb, fiddleback, sung mass, latin hymn, the Canon, cassocks, biretta, maniple (the ultimate leprosy) you name it seems to be political within the eyes of many priests, bishops and, evidently, the pope himself. I'm sure Fr. AJM raised a few eyebrows within his own peer group given the level of magnificence he provided at St. Joseph Church. And, let us not be naive to think that TLM attendees and mass chasers haven't been free from raised eyebrows and scorn from clergy and laity alike. It is hard to focus when the aforementioned constantly competes for attention alongside matters of spirituality.

Will these conditions improve someday? Well, honestly, they already have but, not anywhere close to the speed that the converse occurred. When the day comes that politics is removed from the spiritual, it will be a more authentic and healthy environment for all. I doubt, however, we will see that during most of our respective lifetimes.

Bean said...

"And, let us not be naive to think that TLM attendees and mass chasers haven't been free from raised eyebrows and scorn from clergy and laity alike."

And let us also not think that not a few TLM attendees raise eyebrows and offer scorn to those faithful Catholics who are at home with the Novus Ordo. To some, even, we are heretics.

How many times on this very blog have we been dismissed as Modernists, as ignorant, as hateful, and most recently, diabolical?

What's sauce for the goose.....

ByzRus said...

Bean -

While I appreciate and am sympathetic to your comment, it does not diminish what I stated. No 'side' has a monopoly on suffering here.

John Nolan said...

Mr Bean, for your information, neither on this blog nor in conversation with like-minded Catholics have I come across anyone who denigrated those who are attached, for whatever reason, to the Novus Ordo. I have never heard them described as heretics, or Modernists, or hateful, or diabolical.

Since you would have to be in your sixties to remember the older form, it is undoubtedly true that most Mass-goers are ignorant of it, since they have never attended it. Their ignorance also extends to the music traditional to the Roman Rite, which is by no means exclusive to the older form, since most parishes rely on hymns and folk- or pop-style settings of vernacular texts. To paraphrase Kipling: 'What do they know of the Novus Ordo who only the Novus Ordo know?'

By contrast, those who make the effort to attend Mass in the 'Old Rite' are for the most part completely familiar with the Novus Ordo and may well attend it, if only 'faute de mieux'. Apart from anything else, it was practically the only option for some 40 years.