Western Rite Critic

A Balance to Contagious Enthusiasm

He gets it Rite.


Per Christum web siteFrom an excellent discussion at per Christum, with many more implications than are yet being observed:

“In the North American Antiochian Archdiocese, the answer is that is should look like the Tridentine, Counter Reformation, Roman Catholicism. Indeed, the liturgical standards for the AWRO are publicly and expressly those of the of the Anglican Missal & Ritual Notes or the 1962 Latin Missal (translated to English) and Fortesque’s Ceremonial.

Personally, I find this bizarre, to say the least, because Tridentine Catholic Doctrine (whether Anglo- or Roman) and the Liturgics that embody it (which the AWRO does to the nth) has little or nothing in common with the Western Orthodoxy of the First Millennium. To the contrary, Tridentine Counter-Reformation Catholicism (and its later aping by Victorian Anglo-Catholics) represents the fully developed embodiment of everything sectarian (that is herterodox) and wrong about Western Christianity since the Great Schism!!

In other words, regardless of pragmatic concerns, AWRO is in kind if not degree as egregious as slapping an icon on the wall of your local Universalist Unitarian church and relabeling it “Orthodox.” And, this simply won’t do. As we say in the South, you can put lipstick and a dress on a sow and call her Peggy Sue, but she still ain’t nothin’ but a big fat pig. Indeed, at a minimum, the revival of WRO must actually involve the use of liturgical practices at least based on pre-schism, Western Orthodox doctrine, spirituality and piety. In this regard, I do believe that ROCOR’s version of WRO is much more closer to be authentic.”

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January 24, 2008 - Posted by | -- Anglican, Western Rite -- Tridentine Mass, Western Rite Liturgics, Western Rite Quotes | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

11 Comments »

  1. Thank you for the comment, Monk Aidan. I cannot tell which writer it is aimed at. But for myself I appreciate your clarification on the liturgical question, and also your advice on prayer, for who of us can pray enough?

    Comment by tuD | February 17, 2008 | Reply

  2. I must bypass all the polemics of the above posts to focus on one objective liturgical point. The WR liturgies used in the Russian Church Outside Russia do NOT differ in the main from those which are blessed for use in the Antiochian Western Rite Vicariate (AWRV). There are two primary forms of WR liturgy in the Russian Church Abroad, and they are (a) the form of Mass found in the Tridentine missal and (b) the form of eucharist found in the Book of Common Prayer and in the Anglican Missal. The WR clergy of the Russian Church Abroad, and their people, work closely and cordially with the AWRV clergy, and their people. All of these are our brethren in Christ. I have my thoughts on liturgical matters, but I receive the Mysteries at the same Chalice as they. Criticise, if you wish, but make a pledge to spend more time praying for your WR brethren than you do writing attacks against aspects of their missionary work.

    Comment by hieromonachusaidanus | February 17, 2008 | Reply

  3. To your other question: “To what extent and in which ways is your critique of WR, in your estimation, also a critique of the state of Orthodoxy in general, Orthodoxy in the US, but more specifically the Antiochan Orthodox Church in America?

    I’m not sure it’s right to make any statements about Orthodoxy in general. It’s not like an institution or organization or religion or other kind of cultural body. It’s unique. Remember, above all, as a inviolate truth. The Church is blameless, perfect, flawless, and without blemish – the Lamb without spot. The Church is One and cannot be broken, fractured, insufficient, less than the fullness, and anything but salvific. If this is not true, then the Branch Theory is and then Christ is not truly Incarnate, and the Mysteries are no mysteries, and we are all doomed, and will burn – all men will burn. No, the Church herself is even infallible, in the ecumenical councils, for Christ promised the Spirit would lead her into all truth. We are the Church of the seven councils. It is always important to keep this keen in mind when thinking about these things.

    And sometimes individuals in the Church live up to the fulness of that (praising her in her Saints), and sometimes they do not. Orthodoxy itself is flawless. What you’re really concerned about is religion, which is a cultural force, and foreign/alien to Orthodoxy. And you will find that everywhere. Did not the apostles write as much to the great Churches of Corinth and Ephesus and so on. “Nevertheless I have this much against you…” These were the great historic Orthodox Churches – still are! And the Church is flawless, but the individuals were not. We are promised likewise by Christ that we will be both wheat and tares, sheep and goats, until the Judgment. And the fathers teach us to say, *I* am the goat, *I* and the tare. Only do not deny the Faith.

    A group of men sought out a great abbot whom they heard had overcome anger. And they went to taunt him, to see if they could make him angry. Are you that one who is the murderer? Yes, that’s me. Are you the great sinner and slanderer of men? Yes, I am that one. Are you the infamous fornicator? Yes, even he. Are you that heretic? Never! Such a thing is not so. And they conferred among themselves and asked the Abbot, why did you bear with everything we said at first, but this last thing you would no bear? It was good for me to agree with you on the other things, so I did, but if I say I am a heretic, I separate myself from the Lord. And they were amazed and went away edified.

    Say “I am the goat, the tare, the sinner.” Only do not deny Holy Orthodoxy, for then how will the goat be saved, how will the tare grow into wheat, how will the sinner repent? True repentance is a gift from God.

    We cannot consider the Church from without, that is from the outside. We cannot weight the Faith against something else, as though it were an option of many. If we believe the apostles we join their Church and preserve their faith inviolate. Or as Christ would say in John’s Gospel, “First do of the teaching, and then you will know.” We have no ground to stand on to judge that which fills all and is the fullness. We have nothing analogous to compare it to and judge it against, if it really is the truth. To what can you compare the truth and what can judge it? Would we use error to judge truth? Non-truth to determine if it were so? First we do of the teaching, as Christ says, and then we know that it is of the Father, and not merely words. In the theoretical state, in our minds, it is mere words, and we are not yet effectual doers.

    When we stand praying, it is tempting to judge the people around us for doing it inadequately, but then we have become judges of men, and not prayers to God. This is why, regardless of others who may be looking around, or wiggling, we should pray through the whole liturgy, engaging our whole bodies in the prayer, moving lips, opening eyes, crossing head, belly, shoulders, and standing aright. And if we do that, we cannot be paying attention to our brother. And so, ulimately, the same piety applies to how we convert and what conversion is. We do not unite ourselves to the Church on the basis of what those in it are doing, much less do we blaspheme the Spirit by saying the Church is flawed. But we join to save ourselves. And nothing can stop us, if God is for us. If we want to save ourselves, we must never stop. Fast, pray, confess, commune, never stop reading the fathers, go to the non-Sunday services, put an icon corner in your home and an icon in every room, and pray there with the icons and a prayer book or rule. And if no one else is doing these things, and you find that out, be amazed only that you need these things but they attain worthiness without them, feel them superior, and keep doing what you’re doing. Save yourself. Say to yourself that you are the tare, and they the wheat.

    If converts did this, they would be mostly quiet and discreet, but extremely rich, running over, overflowing, and no one would have any concerns, caveats, or worries at all, and the issues like which rite wouldn’t matter. Seek always the fullness of the faith for yourself and your family, and strive to judge no one.

    The faith cannot be converted to on the basis of deciding it’s good enough or measures up – because the faith is the measure and is the good.

    Orthodoxy is asceticism, not a belief system. It’s doctrines have but one purpose – a means to an ends – theosis.

    As far as which Orthodox Church, remember laymen are not members of jurisdictions. Period. If you’re not clergy, you can go anywhere you want, provided it’s Orthodox. The Church has no rule to the contrary. For most people, I’d be less inclined to choose a parish based on a jurisdiction than on what’s available locally that will help me have the fullest expression of Orthodox faith, piety, tradition, with the aim of theosis.

    For me, that means I’m more likely, given a handful of choices – for me, mind you – to go where people stand rather than sit, because I want to stand and do so w. minimum distraction. I would be more likely to go where the liturgies are unabbreviated, the full cycle of services are provided (e.g. vespers, matins, the hours, non-Sunday feast days), more likely to seek out a place covered with icons to venerate, desiring the fellowship of the Saints, than with stained glass windows. I’d be more likely to go where people tend to sing with the choir or as the choir than where people watch the choir, since I am going to pray the entire time I’m there, and I don’t want to make a scene. I’d be more likely to go where children are welcome throughout the whole of the divine liturgy, and are not kept in separate classes and show up unprepared, having not learned to pray with their families, and grown into the Church rather than literally apart from it. And of course, there are other considerations – those aren’t the yardstick, but they’re important to me. It’s helpful, thinking of a recent letter I read, to have a helpful Fr. Confessor, but often you can confess in one place and commune in another, since we live in a modern age of communication and clergy are supposed to get along.

    The main point I’m trying to get across, not as tho you’re dense, but b/c it’s late, and I’m under the weather, and not sure I’m doing a very good job of it, is that it’s theosis, it’s deification, it’s union with God, as a work of synergy, that is our focus. And the Church is our Ark to carry us there, just as the Theotokos is the Ark who bore our salvation, carrying us to safety, through the waters.

    in my unworthiness…

    Comment by tuD | February 4, 2008 | Reply

  4. Fortuin: two questions, and two answers. I’ll take secrecy for 200. 🙂

    Well, there are many reasons for privacy; let’s think of it that way. Religion (not Faith) but religion as with all other merely cultural categories of behavior is not immune to the dark side. Where you find religion, just as where you find politics, or social activism, or corporate life, or fraternal or community organizations, you get people whose response to someone saying something they don’t like is to try to a) pin down their identity and have them silenced (ad baculum), or b) utilize personal details in an ad hominem. They will do it believing their cause is so right (neconservatism, the current rotary club board composition, where a group has its t-shirts printed, or whatever) that they will believe the ends justify the means. This is most especially true where religion is concerned, since they will believe they are serving God. The scriptures warn of this. It’s the very Protestant impulse that you and I are converting from (the Holy Spirit tells me this, and so this is true, and you opposing it is just mad, and must be silenced or marginalized). I say converting, b/c we are all always converting. We as Christians cannot accept a merely utilitarian, ends justifies means, framework. I would rather a heretic spread his heresy than go out and put a bullet in his head. Speaking of the heretics, the fathers silenced them by a number of methods: they fled them, they debated them, they analyzed their work in writing, they anathematized them.

    In this day and age, tho, especially in the West, we can think of people at a job who try to get you fired, people in a political campaign who try to dig up dirt on your family, and people in religious environs who try to cut you off at the knees. Now say you’re also responsible for people who will suffer greatly if you allow this to happen. You don’t, even if you’re willing to go to the stake for your ideas; you don’t just willy nilly expose yourself w/o regard for the others in your charge. It’s not Orthodoxy, Fortuin, it’s everywhere there are people who feel very strongly, and want to win, and let the passions control them and have sway, and so it’s not surprising that you find it anywhere that can evoke strong loyalty or sentiment.

    There are other reasons for privacy. Protecting sources ensures you can be trusted with future information. Reporters (and that’s partly what this site is doing, you know) – if they went about naming all their sources would not only subject those poor people to great discomfort if no retribution and censure, but would also lose their ability to get and have any information that everyone didn’t already have. Then they couldn’t function to serve you and I.

    Another reason: in the course of argument, if your opponent is prone to using non sequiturs (fallacies of relevance) like ad hominem (attacking the arguer personally), straw man (arguing side issues or substituting issues), appeal to authority (a thing is not true or false because the right person says so or the wrong person does not), then if they’re prone to using those fallacies, and you cater to that, you hurt your audience. You make it harder for them to withstand fallacies, which are really forms of dishonesty and of subverting human communication. You give credence to the fallacies, if you cater to them, and weaken people’s discernment, and nor do you give your opponent an opportunity to grow and improve, and actually contribute something to the discussion, so it can benefit the larger community.

    And you weaken the position of the next guy, and the next, until what dominates the realm of ideas is what is thought by the “right kind of people”, what the “authorities say the truth is” even if it isn’t, and what is left after you silence your opposition. I wouldn’t want to live in that kind of world. And its inherently protestant. It will fragment the Church into a gazillion individual popes, individual authority figures who claim to be the right authorities and the right kind of people. You get Protestantism that way. Everyone differs on what God is saying, or told them, or revealed – but there’s no objectivity, only endless cascading schism ad infinitum. Or else you get the opposite and equal error of actual papism, in which a highly centralized authority, which chooses the right kind of people (those who agree with what it already is), and literally MAKE truth, the way a papal minister speaks the eucharist into being (the mysteriological and epistemological versions of what some leader ‘getting a word of prophesy’ was like in the charismatic mvmt.). These are all versions of the same error and departure and are easy to track trends. I can’t concede to either the papal or protestant impulse in the Orthodox faith, merely because it’s strong in the culture. The Faith indeed, is at war w. the dominant culture, it wants to deify what can be deified and repudiate the rest.

    So I reject these fallacies for the very reasons I reject heresy or the principle of lying.

    Here’s an example:

    I think x. Well, you’re a convert from the Z religion – that’s Z thinking. Besides, you’re in the Y congregation, and they’re influenced by A and associated with B, and bought into a lot of C, and listened too much to D’s teaching, and I know a lot of people that came out of Y and are with us now, and they say that too. In fact, since you’re with Y, I know the head guy, and I think I’ll give him a call; he shouldn’t be allowing someone like you to speak anyway and influence people’s ideas according to x, because x isn’t so, because were’ in Q congregation, and we know this issue better than you, and Q congregation is right.

    I purposely didn’t insert a particular religion. And if you substituted the ordinary for religious forms of words (group for congregation, and organization for religion), you can see it applies to almost anything anywhere that there are people who feel strongly about something and want their feelings or ideas to win, or to remain unchallenged.

    My advice from when I saw your discussion about this in the other forum is: don’t let it worry you about Orthodoxy per se, but be circumspect, respect privacy and ethics in general, anywhere in the culture, don’t give people information that’s not actually relevant or needed, even if they scream to high heaven about it – especially then, because then you’re lying and saying it is necessary, and you’ve sabotaged every Chinese dissident holding out and running an underground newsletter.

    Finally, in this age of the security state and the surveillance society, where invading our privacy is the norm, where if you don’t give your id (Papers! Let me see your papers!) when asked, you’re automatically under suspicion, I like to lean the other way. I like civil liberties, and I don’t want to encourage, for my part, their erosion. I’d be responsible for every innocent person detained indefinitely in Guantanamo. Show me the need for my birth name, and geographic location, and its relevance to my argument, and I’ll consider it. But I retain the right of al our great anonymous journalists, like Publius, authors of the Federalist Papers, to let my ideas stand or fall by themselves, and preserve my identity for my family and to fight a fight where that really needs to be on the line.

    There are other reasons, but it risks becoming a book. 🙂

    Comment by tuD | February 4, 2008 | Reply

  5. tuD: To what extent and in which ways is your critique of WR, in your estimation, also a critique of the state of Orthodoxy in general, Orthodoxy in the US, but more specifically the Antiochan Orthodox Church in America? It would seem possibly far reaching implications can be said to apply, if one agrees with your assessment of WR.

    Comment by fortuin | February 4, 2008 | Reply

  6. tuD:Certainly you got my curiousity piqued! About Ben Lomond you are not at liberty to go into detail (see Timeline -comments), and now here you speak of “information I’m not permitted to share.” As an enquirer of AOA (non-WR) you got me wondering what this secrecy is all about. Add to this my recent exodus out of the CEC (infamous for its secrecy) and you got me worried about Orthodoxy – regardless of which rite! Not meant to “call you out” but a call for clarification to help out this seeking, unworthy pilgrim.

    Comment by fortuin | February 4, 2008 | Reply

  7. BC: I noticed your quotation of the discussion here to another blog. I guess what I’m trying to say at a minimum is that
    a) there’s been a spike in the number and frequency of WR parishes popping up, if one considers a timeline of WRV parishes and ROCA WR parishes (including the ones they don’t track).
    b) events have causes: the change is occurring for reasons – I know there are mundane candidates for the reasons, but there are also extraordinary ones
    c) events don’t occur in a vacuum: there are other events therefore that can help illuminate causes for a trend shift – to analyze these possible causes, one will need to compare the timeline mentioned in (a) above with timlines of other events in Orthodoxy worldwide, Orthodoxy in the US, religious life in general (to include other religious confessions and ecumenical events), and also timelines of cultural events (cultural trends, political, economic, military, etc. – globally and locally.
    d) lining up such timelines won’t tell you anything – you have to hypothesize – it’s subjective, but so would be a canned answer or an insistence on a mundane causes
    e) rather than lining up all these timelines in actual fact, one can sort of do it informally in one’s head, and then begin some initial hypothesis to help narrow down the problem

    Basically, I was saying that I’m not in a position where I can answer you outright, but that this one key basis (or methodology) of my own thinking on why WR isn’t going to remain marginal forever. It is merely informed by information I’m not permitted to share, but it does not depend on any such information. I’m basically giving you the tools to think about this as I do, but without some of the extra prompts that I can’t give, but which are dispensible.

    Comment by tuD | February 4, 2008 | Reply

  8. WR Pepsi Challenge:
    The main reasons involve details I can’t provide, unfortunately. But it would be interesting to measure the rate of growth – not globally – but in a key environment like the US. Measure the rate at which new WR parishes and missions (including both ROCA and AOA) have been added since say 1982. This may be tough, because ROCA doesn’t keep these stats as current, imo. They’re quieter about it. Plot it on a curve, with the years and see if the curve is shaped like an L. In other words, does it climb suddenly, showing a more rapid rate of growth than before – the dates closer together, etc. Plot the locations, also, so you can see micro-growth in particular regions – look for a trend. Compare that trend with the locus of growth for cultural phenomenon (politics, social trends, – for example presidential candidates, etc.). Now take a timeline of developments both in Orthodoxy (e.g. Ben Lomond 1998, the beginning of no holds barred reunification drive of ROCA/MP in 2000), cultural events (e.g. include major decisions by other religious groups – Protestants/Rome/WCC, but also key trends in aesthetics, ethics, etc.) and world events (e.g. 1998 beginning of US/UK bombing runs on Iraq and inauguration, under Bill Clinton, of undeclared “war on terror” (one sign being the US missile attacks on Sudan), 2000 Israeli offensive in Lebanon, 2001 invasion of Afghanistan). Correlate or overlay these timelines as templates (For those of you who would charge ‘conspiracy theory’, I said correlate not conclude causation). Look for relationships and trends, hypothesize additional correlations. Then, hypothesize – attempt hypotheses of general meaning. Then pray for me, and yourself, and us all.

    Comment by tuD | January 31, 2008 | Reply

  9. First of all thank you for your well thought out and ennumerated response. That is refreshing in a medium where all to often such is lacking in favor of barbs. I appreciate that we are able to hit the ground running in that regard.

    If you are so inclined, I would be most interested to hear about how it is you have come to believe that WRO will take off in such a fashion…

    My personal speculation is that for how willing ++PHILLIP seems to be to embrace, ordain and outfit WRO missions, it could easily become the case that several dozen “missions” would be allowed… But from there, I am having a difficult time seeing busloads of erstwhile Anglicans and disaffected Romans joining up. Looking at the websites and communities of existing WRO, I suspect that what they have right now – smallish missions in temporary locations served by priests who work full time secular jobs – is what would be expected in more of the same.

    Again, Anglican Rite Orthodoxy seems to have a most limited appeal and niche sort of market to disaffected Anglicans. English language Tridentine Mass even more so given that those most attracted to it have likely been placated with the recent liberalizations in the celebration of the TLM.

    The PNCC has established a “mission” in my hometown that meets in the basement of a Lutheran Church… It has, I understand, been successful in attracting a meer handful of divorcees and those attracted to its affirmation of Artificial birth control. By and large, as one Orthodox author I especially respect notes, even dissent does not largely serve to move people out of the communion of their birth of heritage. Disaffected Orthodox rarely go Greek Catholic en masse, dissident RCs have not gone over to ECUSA in droves. (To be sure, their current leader IS an ex-RC…)

    For the record, as a Catholic, I would be pleased to see every Evangelical go western rite Orthodox tomorrow… To have the Euchatist and develop a love for the Theotokos not currently found therein would be a boon and a blessing for most. If I thought that were attainable or realistic, I would act as the Metropolitans “Goodwill Greek Catholic” to promote it. But honestly, once Evangelicals get over their misgivings about sacraments, why an appreciable number of them would wade into western-rite waters and still move towards Orthodoxy (as opposed to Rome or various and Sundry Anglican communities both in and out of communion with the wider AC)… Well I am not sure I can easily envision that.

    So again, it is so esoteric to present to the unchurched and those outside of Anglicanism as a way to be Orthodox… Well this serves to fuel my curiosity on why it is you think that a great deal of growth will be seen in the very near future.

    Comment by asimplesinner | January 28, 2008 | Reply

  10. Well, you make 3 points:

    Their liturgical, historical, and ecclesiological claims are a snow job.
    The question of Augustinism
    Low projections for their future growth

    On point 1, I agree wholeheartedly.

    On point 2, I have to agree somewhat w. Fr. Mark on this. Augustinism is what took us off the rails. This is no more than a result of the filioque. But new converts find this an easy issue to get into, with little real depth needed to understand it without falling into it. It’s so easy to tell the West it’s wrong; it’s much harder to develop a truly Orthodox phronema, and there’s no substitute there for time. Tell that to a new convert from the West, and frequently their answer is to read 3 more books. I’ve seen lots of groups, parishes, and such founded by people driving home (almost as though they invented it) this anti-Augustinian point, but usually with numerous facts and little understanding. It’s a dilettante’s favorite topic, and they always lead their own people off the rails, by creating a dialectical opposite to Augustinism, and so becoming even more firmly Augustinists themselves. And they couldn’t explain this process to save their lives. It’s not very original of them, either. Fr. John Romanides popularized this quite broadly, a man whom I respect, and then Dr. Joseph P. Farrell addressed it in a more elaborate and definitive way. There is excellent work and real issues, but w/o achieving the true piety that can only come from lengthy and continual prayer and fasting, it’s masturbation and hypocrisy. A St. Photius stands in continual rebuke of our pride, and dares anyone to speak against St. Augustine, charging that a genuine Orthodox mind would understand St. Augustine in an Orthodox way, and not as an Augustinist. St. Augustine save us by thy prayers.

    This issue is sort of like “prophesy” among fundamentalists. It becomes the titillating issue of the hour, in which it is eay to become the seer, the visionary, the ‘aware’ person. It’s a shortcut to insight and understanding that the desert fathers warn about consistently, and is akin to prelest. “Let him who thinks he stands, take heed lest he fall.” Every anti-augustinist I’ve seen that isn’t a scholar of Fr. John’s calibre (and perhaps quite a number of those who are) have fallen. Fallen, fallen. Their Jerusalem has fallen, because they loved Athens – loved the sound of their own rebuke of Athens, and let their Jerusalem unattended. How splendid is their fall, how luxurious, how eloquent, and how like the glorious of torment.

    On point 3, I think you underestimate what is happening. But your point is taken. If these folk remain as they have been, it’s worth less effort. But in my opinion, and in the opinion of someone I respect, this is not only ballooning rapidly now, but going to grow at an astounding pace. The AA is trying to control it, and limit the size of missions for the first year, etc, perhaps so they don’t balloon out of shape and draw too much attention to themselves. But it’s just a delayed effect; they’re going, imo, to be the bridge to bring in vast numbers of Protestants/Anglicans and Roman Catholics, and they’ll become the bridge to Rome if they don’t self-destruct into The Western Rite Schism, or a cluster of micro-schisms based on their own ecclesiological, mysteriological, eschatological preferences, and precisely their Protestant heritage. In my opinion, other Orthodox churches should do exactly what Bishop Anthony did. If I’m wrong, and let me be wrong, ok, but if I’m right, and I think I am, then you’re looking at one of the signposts of the apostasy of ages.

    Comment by tuD | January 25, 2008 | Reply

  11. as I offer in the combox over there:

    I have no beef with Anglicans fleeing to the protection of the Antiochians, per se.

    As my mother would say, “Hey, it keeps them of the streets!”

    I am, as I explained, at a loss to understand how the Antiochians can wholesale baptize a NEW (to Orthodoxy!) set of services in this fashion, when schisms have wreaked havoc in Orthodoxy over far smaller matters of revisions & reforms in Byzantine usage (Nikonian, Revised Julian, etc.)

    The nature of autocephalous polyarchy being what it is, one would suspect adapting and adopting the BCP would generally be frowned upon as most hierarchs tend to not wish to go “too far off the reservation” on matters that an Ecumenical council might be needed to address.

    IT isn’t the services themselves that are as problematic to me (I fully support the efforts of Anglican-use communities in the Catholic Church – all 8/9 of em!)

    IT is the claim that this usage is rooted in historic “Western Orthodoxy” combined with the assertion of episcopal prerogatives in approving such a right. Even if Saint Tikhon DID bless it in the fashion pro-WRO suggest, dare I offer that even the blessing of a saint doesn’t make it kosher. (Or maybe it does, in which case certain contradistinctive polemicists need to reconsider their thinking on Scholasticism , Ignation Spiritual Exercises and Saint Thomas Aquinas, as different Orthodox saints CAN be found who much admired and approved of all of the above…)

    Perhaps ultimately, in the economy of it, it must be decided what will be traded or sacrificed and what will be saved. Mark Wallace (who I believe was just ordained to the priesthood for the Antiochians) showed up on a forum espousing a strongly anti-western, anti-Augustinian view that presupposes the west “went off the rails” almost 1600 years ago and it is only gotten worse. If one takes that position, it seems REALLY incongruent to wish to serve a Western rite liturgy, which is so rooted in “corrupt western patrimony.”

    But considering that question, in the light of the relative non-numbers of WRO in world Orthodoxy, it seems fairly moot. I have heard “10,000 adherents” for a decade and a half, and I certainly DO NOT believe that, anymore than I EVER believed the OCA’s (one time) claim of 1,000,000+!!!!

    IF there are even 2,000 (and that is very high!) adherents for 30 parishes (I think that is high too) that would give us parishes of 66 people per.

    I am not familiar with more than two parishes (maybe)that large. I am not aware of more than one parish over 25 years old. I have not met a second let alone third generation Western Riter online.

    To accommodate them in such a fashion while letting go of certain anti-western distinctives prevalent in the voices of modern Orthodoxy, seems like a bigger sacrifice that a group not well known or widely accepted would warrant.

    WRC, while I am fairly sympathetic to your viewpoint – I share some of your conclusions, with different arguments – I am not totally certain this very small group warrants this sort of time effort and attention. While certain pro-WRO seem omnipresent on the net (one of which posted here and tends to show up where-ever it is discussed [we all need hobbies]), I don’t believe they are appreciably growing or sustainable. They appeal to a very limited niche market.

    Honestly, it is simply too esoteric.

    “Join my church, we are Orthodox!”
    “Like in My Big Fat Greek Wedding?”
    “No, we are western rite”
    “Like Catholics”
    “Yes, but Orthodox”
    “Using the Catholic Mass?”
    “A version of it and/or the Anglican BCP”
    “So like Anglicans?”
    “But corrected of scholastic error & Protestantism!”
    “Oh”

    It is too kitschy, too esoteric, too limited to ex-Anglicans wanting a few more years of “doing their thing.”

    Think about your average unbaptized, unchurched, American heathen. Once you talk them into Christianity and get to the point where they are ready to accept not just some vague “I accept Jesus” but also His church and his grace-giving sacraments…

    Well getting them to affirm and believe that the great big Roman Church – 1.1B strong, growing, on all 7 continents, united under a powerful leader who gets his annual “Christmas special” broadcast around the world live… They got it wrong!! (Fair enough, most of the world is non-Catholic, that opinion is legitimate…) and theirs is not the legitimate patrimony of Western Christianity!

    The Orthodox (the ones that accept Chalcedon that is, not those non-chalcedonian heterodox!) DID get it right, and now, using rites formulated by the wrong Romans or the Anglicans that broke off from the wrong Romans but were still wrong… Well you can be right! They are the western orthodox!

    All 700 of you!

    Simpler still? If they (the heathens) are going to go for fiddlebacks and organs, they are going to pick the cool German bishop who has his own country surrounded by Rome.

    (Or Anglican if they are gay.)

    Dare I say, offering the DL in Gregorian Chant (its been done, I have heard the music in Russia) with organs and icononstasis removed (the modern icon screen is of recent origin anywho) would be a far more legitimate and practical hat-tip to people of Western patrimony?

    No, I don’t dare say that!

    Comment by asimplesinner | January 25, 2008 | Reply


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