Western Rite Critic

A Balance to Contagious Enthusiasm

The Cultural Argument and Archaeology


“Many Westerners have joined our Church and adopted our Eastern modes of worship. Others have asked why they must become Eastern to become Orthodox. Their French and German and English ancestors were Orthodox before the Popes took them out of the Church in the eleventh century, but they were Western Orthodox. Our scholars and theologians have examined this claim, and found it just and reasonable.” – Excerpt from the Report of Metropolitan Anthony (Bashir) to the 1958 Archdiocesan Convention

Question: What is “Eastern” about our rites, just because they were born in the East and Easterns use them. We have generations of Orthodox all over the world who do, as well. Is Christ then Eastern? Are most of the Apostles? We are not far off to be concerned with the talk now of resurrecting gothic mediaeval “iconography”, which is heterodox in so many ways. Why is it, precisely, that converts perceive the rites themselves as Eastern, or is it rather that they prefer a more ethnically homogenous and merely liturgically familiar environment. That’s phyletism – just with a whitebread flavour. Is it really a just and reasonable argument that ones “ancestors” from the 9-centuries ago did something? That’s the same argument that every ethnic group uses in the US to claim entitlement, except this is nine centuries later. And why the rite, but not the whole thing? The Celts would put exile people to the wilderness for adultery; shall we recover their liturgics but leave their piety behind?

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January 17, 2008 Posted by | -- Phyletism, -- What is Western?, Western Rite Questions | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is a Menu approach to liturgics wise?


Father Michael Johnson: There are some, of course, who will point out that there was considerable liturgical diversity in the early Church – and therefore, why is such diversity not possible and even desirable today? There was indeed considerable liturgical variation from one pl ace to another in ancient times. The reason for this was the simple fact that the average person never got more than 25 miles from his place of birth and communications from one place to another were slow and difficult. Under such circumstances, liturgic al diversity was a natural development and hardly a problem. Today, by contrast, we live in what has been called a “global village” where communications are instant and American families often move several times, from one state to another, while their chi ldren are growing up. Everything in our environment argues for greater uniformity in liturgical practice.

The Priest. A Newsletter for the Clergy of the Diocese of San Francisco. Issue No. 5, May 1996

January 11, 2008 Posted by | Western Rite Liturgics, Western Rite Quotes | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

An Argument About Antique Furniture


This is a good example quotation from someone who talks of the need not to be Byzantinized (whatever that means), and yet is engaged in all manner of archaeology to get things that no one he’s related to has seen or used in recent memory.

WR people don’t feel the need to be Byzantinized. Icons are just as Western (especially in the English tradition – ref “The Church of Our Fathers” Vol. 1-4 1849-1854 by Dr. Daniel Rock.) They are part of the universal deposit of the faith. The Ordo for the AWRV prescribes ‘Romanesque’ style, which is really Byzantine art in the West. Western liturgy uses fans as well – though those are probably a gift – very hard to find Western style liturgical fans, or good processional crosses anymore (anytime since the 1950s really.) Paleo-Christian style Byzantine processional crosses and fans are close enough except in detail to some of the oldest English examples still in use. – “Aristibule” (from this thread)

Romanesque? So where are all the iconographers trained in that going to come from? When you have to dig up antiques (which I have nothing specifically against), you have no claim to trying to avoid cultural accretions and ethnic differences, however much that confuses culture with rite. It’s like you and I arguing over French Provincal or Elizabethan furniture. How dare you burden me with French Provincal! My heritage is Elizabethan. Now, I’m going to go look that up, and see if I can still get it somewhere. Damned French!

This writer also had this to say, “The arguments against the Western Rite are still based upon a straw-man of what WRO is imagined to be, rather than what it is. We Western Orthodox can’t be anything else but Orthodox – not Roman Catholics, not Anglican Protestants, etc. We don’t have to be ‘Greek’ either. Our rite isn’t up for debate or negotiation either – no more than the continued existence of Greeks, Russians, Serbs, etc.” – Ibid. [emphasis mine – to illustrate the technique of prohibition of questions]

January 11, 2008 Posted by | -- What is Western?, Western Rite Quotes | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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