Western Rite Critic

A Balance to Contagious Enthusiasm

Best argument for the Western Rite so far

Best argument for the Western Rite so far: “My greatest awareness of being an Orthodox Christian did not come when I first started coming to Church as a zealous convert with all the answers. It came when I saw those pious old Ukrainian and Slovak people who instinctively made the Sign of the Cross when they heard an ambulance siren or a bit of bad news. It is more real for them than it is for me because they don’t have to remind themselves to do it. For them it is life. And like it or not, the Western European and Northern European descendents of most Americans received Trinitarian, “little ‘c’” catholicism centuries ago. This cultural memory stays with them even if they are un-churched. Little girls in America dream of growing up, meeting a nice boy, and saying their vows at the altar. Read it again. They do not dream of and will never dream of exchanging their crowns at the wedding table. We may have a bunch of converts in N. America running around with a fetish for 19th century Russia, but we are deluded if we feel like we are going to uproot a cultural memory which stretches back, in some cases, to the point where the East and West were still in communion. After the recent convert has finished convincing himself that he is in the right Church, there comes a point where all those troparians, metanias, and sleepy Sunday mornings at Orthros seem, well, just a little forced. The West knows what Church is. In the West, Church has “Sunday Service” or “Mass”, not Orthros and Liturgy. It has steeples and stone bell towers, not onion domes. It has pews, kneelers, and hymnals or missals. It has King James English, not Slavonic or Greek. They both may be almost as hard to understand for the uneducated masses fed on MTV, but even they recognize that only ONE of those is our liturgical language. If our Orthodox Churches put Pope St. Gregory the Great on the calendar and commemorate him after Presanctified Liturgy, then they shouldn’t have a problem with Orthodox Christians praying the way that he prayed. If we say that praying the way that he prayed is not allowed, then I say we are hypocrites.” -[source]

He’s sadly wrong on these things, but it is a compelling emotional argument.


December 28, 2007 - Posted by | -- What is Western?, Western Rite Quotes | , , , , , , ,

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