Western Rite Critic

A Balance to Contagious Enthusiasm

Enemies, Opponents, and Brothers in Christ


Wool over one's eyes.Recently a Christian speaker stood before an audience desiring to gain acceptance for a path that conflicted quite clearly with their tradition. The technique he used is tried and true. He began to describe how there’s a difference between crazy and not crazy. Always he drew associations with his theoretical opponents and craziness, always with his own views and sanity. In other words:

  • He presented a false dilemma: Your choices are: my novel views or else these extreme and unpleasant attitudes and motivations; those are your choices. He didn’t define craziness, of course. You could insert the word ‘extremist’ or ‘fundamentalist’ or ‘liberal’ or any other undesirable buzzword. The important thing is to leave it vague enough, and to indicate, without indicating why or how, it is undesirable: You don’t want to be thought of as “x”, do you? Well then, the only alternative is my views.
  • He poisoned the well: Those who would oppose me are, by opposing me, demonstrating that their motivations are irrational. Of course, he did not have any actual opponents on hand to prove him wrong – the goal was to prevent opposition, and stereotype it in advance.
  • He mischaracterized his opponents, theoretical or otherwise. By attributing to them irrational, he easily escapes contest with the many rational books and articles that have been written to refute his position. He likewise, escapes having to engage such things, since a scholar needn’t, after all, debate with the irrational. [1]

In short, this speaker silenced opposition, embarrassed concern, and slid a pre-packaged point of view into the minds of those least educated on the matter, least versed in the relevant body of thought, and most likely to desire an easy avenue to intellectual status – namely, the mass of new converts and under-educated members of churches that cater to every novelty while fostering ignorance of tradition. He pled to dilettants.

These techniques are cited here, because they’re not uncommon among Western Rite enthusiasts. Frequently, those who express concern, potent questions, and certainly challenges to things done in the name of “Western rites” are characterized as “hysterical” [2], “raving”, “railing”, “polemicists” [3] “bashing”, “attacking”, “hostile”, “attempting to demean the rite” [4], and so on.

In other words, a variety of irrational emotions (rage, hysteria), evil motives (hostility, hatred, the desire to demean), and extreme actions (railing, raving) are attributed to those who would express concern over some of the enthusiasm being expressed, question the wisdom of some of the initiatives undertaken, or oppose the novelties introduced. The technique is the same, and it’s effects are:

  • Present a false dilemma: you must choose the “balanced view” of the enthusiasts, or the extreme emotions, motives, and actions presumably characterizing their opponents. There is no third choice – namely that of happy approval of what is good, and firm, even adamant opposition to what is not, coupled with cautious consideration of what is questionable. There is only, in this presentation, “us” and “them”, and “them” aren’t really an option.
  • Poison the well: when you see opposition, you must read it with the remembrance that it cannot come from genuine and legitimate concern, a righteous desire for fidelity and purity, and a human struggle to balance the need to admonish and sometimes correct one’s brother for his own salvation, for ours, and for the sanctity of the Faith, with the need to seek dispassion, find humility, and pray for the best. No, opponents must be ‘read’ with a certain pre-packaged hermeneutic – with eyes provided to you by the enthusiasts.
  • Mischaracterize opponents: you are encouraged to read opponents with prejudice and feelings, all the while being admonished not to read the enthusiasts with prejudice and feelings, except of course where prejudice and feelings are deemed to favor the enthusiasts. The first step in persecuting anyone (as the enthusiasts so frequently claim to be persecuted) is to dehumanize them – to make them into caricatures of honest, honorable, reasonable people. This is how you become the enemy of another, and not merely the opponent. Once you have decided that your opponents are not honest, honorable, reasonable people with whom you can seek and indeed find the truth together, you may feel safety from them, but in fact you are no longer safe from yourselves. The truth is, we all need each other, to challenge one another, question one another, admonish one another, and indeed to listen to us. Once we willingly decide to end that, no position we hold is worth having.

Opponents need not be EnemiesThis capacity, to treat opposition as warfare, which always reduces opponents to something less than our fellows, lies in wait as a temptation for any of us, and we are most vulnerable when wounded by one another. As St. Nikolai said, “Men can do me no evil as long as I bear no wound.” And likewise, he offered an entirely different way of looking at enemies in [this wonderful prayer].

So we must encourage those who are enthusiasts, those who are critics, and those who aren’t sure, to use moderation in characterizing opponents. The very caution that we use in examining these matters for approval or disapproval, let us use in choosing how we portray our counterparts, for agreement or disagreement. Let charity teach us to use more strictness with ourselves and more leniency with others. We who are writing this have often failed in this regard. We have sometimes let prejudice, defensiveness, and the desire to finish the course easily determine our words. We are resolved to do better. At the same time, we must, for the sake of the things for which we are striving, point out misleading and harmful techniques, when they endanger our brothers among Western Rite enthusiasts, our fellows anywhere, and ourselves in the temptation to respond in kind. We only seem to be opponents, after all, but to the degree we seek salvation in this striving, we are not opponents – not really. And just as we must acknowledge behaviour sometimes unbecoming, we must seek forgiveness, too, for driving our opponents to behaviours unbecoming fellows in Christ.

Let us love one another, that with one mouth, one mind, one accord we may confess, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – the Trinity, One in Essence, and Undivided. Amen.



End Notes:
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April 10, 2008 Posted by | Western Rite Questions, Western Rite Seminal Material | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Two households, both alike in dignity…


“In particular I want to look at liturgical life. In the extremely primitive condition of the early Church, it was logical that there should be a number of different local liturgical uses. It is likewise sensible to assume that this was not the ideal condition. The early Church is not the pure prototype we must always seek to emulate as so many Christians nowadays seem to think. Instead it was the seed from which the lofty tree of the fully developed Church would one day sprout. So I’m not an advocate of having 300 different liturgies just because the “early church” had them. Some Orthodox are so in love with liturgical archeology that they want a Mozarabic liturgy for Hispanics, a Syriac liturgy (or two) for middle-easterners, a “Celtic” liturgy for those Americans who are a quarter Irish, etc. This is unnecessary and more than a bit silly, I think. Once again, all the little local liturgies are pretty, but I don’t think they reflect the ideal condition of what the Church was meant to eventually develop into. Instead, we would be better off thinking of the Church’s liturgies developing into two distinct “families”. So even though I don’t believe in having a zillion local liturgies so that all the converts can feel proud of their ethnicity when they go play their medieval reenactment games in Church on Sunday, I would be foolish to deny the existence of two distinct liturgical mentalities that existed within the Church by the end of the first millennium.” [source]

Rejoinder: To the two families theorum: So, what does one tell the Irish? That they had a Celtic rite for hundreds of years, but that now they should accept a Norman one? How do you determine, in fact, that an Anglican rite is somehow more appropriate to Mexico than a Byzantine one? Perhaps the best response to this, taken out of context of course, is that of St. Sava of Serbia in the 13th century:

At first we were confused. The East thought that we were West while the West considered us to be East. Some of us misunderstood our place in the clash of currents so they cried that we belong to neither side and others that we belong exclusively to one side or the other. But I tell you Ireneus we are doomed by fate to be the East in the West and the West in the East to acknowledge only heavenly Jerusalem beyond us and here on earth–no one.”

This isn’t West Side Story or Romeo & Juliet. The world is bigger than a stage, and if you respond with the kind of localism that denies the Eastern heritage of the US, for instance, including all of her Saints and the rites they brought with them, and in fact separates from them liturgically for the sake of a false localism, then you can’t speak of families, or stop that process elsewhere.

February 2, 2008 Posted by | -- Phyletism, -- What is Western?, Western Rite Liturgics, Western Rite Quotes | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Texts or Devotions?


“The actual text of the Eucharistic liturgy is usually one of the slowest changing and most “calcified” part of any Christian tradition. That is why it is easy to find certain elements and themes in even the earliest times (the Didache, the writings of Justin Martyr or St. Cyril of Jerusalem, etc.) that correspond to nearly all modern liturgies whether Coptic, Constantinopolitan, or Tridentine Roman. The really big changes and the parts that usually push heresies in any heretical body’s devotional life are the private, domestic devotions.

If you don’t believe me, try the following experiment: read just the plain text of the Mass or the Office from a traditionalist Roman Catholic site. Now read the interpretation/”guide to understanding the Mass” from one of those sites or read up on some of the private devotions, chaplets, or spiritual exercises practiced in counter-reformed Catholicism. Which one had ideas that were more bizarre and disturbing to you as an Orthodox Christian? In which one did you read more about “making reparations”, “offering up” one’s suffering for the “poor souls in purgatory”, and engaging in excessively sentimental and overly imaginative spiritual “exercises”? In short, where is the real *soul* of what makes counter-reformed Catholicism different from Orthodoxy?” – [source]

The author of this post goes on to appeal to authority, presenting the same fait accompli argument that so many have, not being familiar enough with our history and its meaning. The interesting aspect of the above comment is that this is PRECISELY the question at hand when we’re looking at Western Rite adherents doing the rosary, keeping the “sacred heart”, and doing stations of the cross. (What’s next? Statues?) In short, he’s right, but he misses the point that this debate is far from over in the larger Orthodox world, just like many others.

February 1, 2008 Posted by | Western Rite -- Sacred Heart, Western Rite -- Stations of the Cross, Western Rite -- The Rosary, Western Rite -- Tridentine Mass, Western Rite Liturgics, Western Rite Quotes | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Holy Toledo, Batman! What a beautiful Explanation!


Responding to: “BTW, I have never had any Western Rite detractor actually *tell* me what phrases or portions of St. Gregory’s or St. Tikhon’s liturgies are actually expressing vile heterodox dogmas. It is usually just a vague complaint that it “isn’t Orthodox” followed by no clear reason why that is so.”

“First, it doesn’t really matter whether any Orthodox believer can give anyone a clear reason for anything. Orthodoxy isn’t about clear reasons; it’s about a revelation that’s beyond reasons. Historically, particular clear reasons had been formulated over long periods of time in answer to particular alien attacks on revelation. When I receive the heavenly Spirit on Sundays, the furthest thing from my mind are clear reasons. As a reminder, academic-style theology is a RECENT transpiration in Orthodoxy, and its similarity to Latinist rationalizing is not without controversy.

Second, I sympathize with your position, but the problem with the Western Rite is that it’s coming out of a heretical West. Heresy has infected the West for centuries and it takes long periods of hindsight to distinguish between heretical stuff and stuff that simply reflects innocuously different cultural forms. That none of the “detractors” makes that determination at this point in time isn’t an argument against those folks. Rather, your expectation that they should be able to make such a determination is simply an outgrowth of your impatience with the unhurried way in which Orthodoxy deals with such matters.

I hope that I don’t seem harsh, because I really do sympathize with your position. The outreach function of the Western Rite addresses a real need: Eastern stuff is foreign to the Western mind and requires the changing of a weltanschauung acquired over a lifetime. This is a huge issue.

You’re absolutely correct about the necessity for a convert’s belief in Orthodoxy as the repository of revealed Truth. When I talk to enquirers and catechumens, I spell out the matter as a dichotomy: Truth v. utility. If one is looking for a church on every corner or being able to live amongst lots of fellow believers or being able to choose among lots of similarly-believing potential spouses or some other utilitarian or ethnic convenience, Orthodoxy ain’t the place to be. Believing in Truth entails a kind of martyrdom, and many Westerners aren’t equipped for it.

I’ve always hated the “Western Rite as reverse Uniat” argument. To me, such an argument implicitly questions the sincerity of Western Riters’ belief in Orthodoxy. The real issue is whether the Western Rite conveys a REALITY, not whether its adherents are sincere Orthodox.” – [source]

January 31, 2008 Posted by | -- Phyletism, Western Rite Liturgics, Western Rite Quotes | , , , , | Leave a comment

Roman Catholic points out WRO Weakness


A great critique of WRO thinking from [this source]

“I have written apologias on my own blog for Roman Catholicism, and to tell the truth, it just feels that your advocacy of a Western rite in Orthodoxy can go not much further than the level of abstraction. To have attachments to Western externals while denying the theological patrimony of the Western Church would make me say, “Thanks, but no thanks”. These externals were the result of a coherent world view that were expressions of “heretical” concepts in your eyes. Case in point: Marian devotion in Hispanic culture. Most of the Virgins that are venerated are Inmaculadas, that is, representations of the Immaculate Conception as the vision of the Woman in the Apocalypse. The most famous of these is the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico City. (That is where you get the tradition of celebrating Mass in blue vestments: it is only permitted for the Mass of a Virgin who is also an Inmaculada.) The historical greeting in many circumstances in the Spanish speaking world has been, “Ave Maria Purisisma! Sin pecado concebida!” – Arturo Vasquez

So the question becomes obvious. Can one really adopt the 16th century Anglican prayer book, the 20th century Roman Catholic fasting rules, and a mishmash of vestments, calendar items and formats, postures, and gestures, prayers and species, hymns and pieties… a buffet menu of mostly post-schism Western history, and not adopt the attitudes and psychology (or preserve that psychology, for converts) of those periods and the whole of their history? Or if you repudiate that psychology, why keep the forms and claim they are your Western heritage.

In fact, we are faced with the very real question of whether the Western rite represents a genuine Western Orthodoxy at all, or rather a poor substitute, which is actually shortchanging a genuine Western Orthodox mind, while giving false support to one that remains essentially heterodox. At best, might it not currently represent the very piecemeal museum-collection that one so often finds in self-made groups like the CEC.

January 28, 2008 Posted by | -- Anglican, Western Rite Liturgics, Western Rite Questions | , , , , , | 20 Comments

4 out of 5 Dentists say: “Tridentine”.


“This leads to a second point: the simple fact is that what is being done in WR parishes in the AOA is NOT pre-schism. It is Tridentine (16th century). Whether it is the Anglican or the Roman ordo missae, it is essentially the Tridientine rituale that is being followed. Certainly some of those practises, especially various rites surrounding Baptism and Holy Week can be traced back as far as the fourth century in terms of their origins, but that doesn’t mean that either the texts of the prayers or the ritual is the same. For example, the Stations of the Cross sprang from the same practise in Jerusalem as the Byzantine reading of the Twelve Passion Gospels during the Mattins of Holy Friday. In Rome, they kept the act of making a procession from one place (statio) to another. In Constantinople, they preserved the readings, which have varied relatively little over the centuries. (I wrote my M.Div. thesis on the Byzantine lectionary for Holy Thursday-Pascha.) There are other points in which the Roman practise reflects the ancient Jerusalem practise to which the pilgrim Egeria bore witness toward the end of the 4th century, and to which the Armenian lectionary bears some testimony at the beginning of the fifth century.

It is not possible, however, to jump from this to saying that the Tridentine ordo and rituale are ‘pre-schism.’ That is just too much of a stretch. If you want to learn about pre-schism ritual, read the Ordo Romanus Primus, which reflects the pontifical liturgy at Rome toward the end of the 7th century. Ironically, it is far more like the Byzantine Rite on the one hand, and the Novus Ordo Missae, which WR people, Anglican or Roman, are trying to escape because it is so mixed up with the theological deviations and other modernisms of the present-day Anglican and Roman communions.” – Mark Harrison 7/9/2006

That’s another interesting point: do we sanction the use of a clearly heterodox devotional practice like the stations of the cross, because it corresponds to a similar Eastern practice. Same argument could be made for the rosary. But is mere correspondence in superficial form sufficient when there is such non-correspondence in the implications of those pieties for the Faith?

January 18, 2008 Posted by | Western Rite -- Stations of the Cross, Western Rite -- The Rosary, Western Rite -- Tridentine Mass, Western Rite Liturgics, Western Rite Quotes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

RC discussion of WRO is just more Intriguing!


Is it really possible that Roman Catholics are having the most interesting discussions on the Western Rite in Orthodoxy? Perhaps it’s because what we have, so frequently, is not really discussion. We’re not detached enough. Fervent enthusiasts, quiet dissenters, and the occasional lone voice that quickly gets stereotyped as an Gregoriaphobe. [Here is an excellent discussion] and well worth reading. The 23 comments or so are enlightening. Sometimes it’s just useful to step outside of our debate (what little real debate we have) and listen to people who have nothing at stake tell us what we’re saying.

January 16, 2008 Posted by | Western Rite Weirdness | , , , , , | 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

Anglican/RC converts feel at Home in the ER?


This writer makes a point. What about all the ones that have and quite happily are?

“At one time, people were saying that it is not reasonable to expect Anglicans or Roman Catholics to adopt the Byzantine Liturgy. I cannot agree with that for two reasons: The main reason is that my own experience, and the experience of all of my own ex-Anglican, now Orthdoox friends, has been adoption of the Byzantine Rite, with the sole exception of the priest to whom I referred previously. Even his daughter, however, who is a friend from our seminary days, has always been in a Byzantine Rite parish. It is far from impossible or inconceivable for Western Christians to adopt the Byzantine Rite.” – Mark Harrison 7/9/2006

One gets the feeling sometime that to be a true Westerner, a true former Anglican, you have to be at least somewhat unsettled in the Eastern Rite. If you’re perfectly happy with it, you’re Rite on the outside and Byzantine in the middle. Or something like that.

December 21, 2007 Posted by | -- Catechesis & Conversion, Western Rite Quotes | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Refugee Liturgical Criticism


“The desire to escape the abuses is noble, of course. It is also true that the Novus Ordo was hijacked. But it is of critical importance that a genuine study and consideration of WR in the Orthodox Church separate the issues of what is happening in Roman Catholicism and Anglicanism from the historical study of the Ordines Romani in their own right. By separating those issues, we can come to a much better understanding, a far more balanced perspective how the present-day WR practises fit into the life of the Orthodox Church.” – Mark Harrison 7/9/2006

December 19, 2007 Posted by | Western Rite Liturgics, Western Rite Quotes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Liturgy is an Entire Worldview


“It should also be noted that liturgy is more than a dry statement of dogma. It is not sufficient that the doctrines stated in the texts of the prayers not contain theological error. Liturgy involves our entire being and our entire worldview. There is an ancient liturgical axiom that says: lex orandi, lex est credendi (‘the rule of prayer is the rule of faith’); there is a natural correspondence between how we worship and what we believe. Even if the doctrinal statements are in any given prayer are orthodox, how we worship will colour how we receive and process those doctrines and live them out. There is a phrase in the Anglican Canon that reads: ‘Who made there by His one oblation of Himself once offered, a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world.’ As the commision requested by St Tikhon observed, these words need to be considered in their historical context. They were intended to be a refutation of the theology of the Eucharist as sacrifice. On the other hand, young people who grow up in WR parishes, in which there will be a proper context for understanding this phrase, will receive it in an Orthodox manner, understanding that Golgotha cannot be historically repeated. Christ’s Sacrifice of Himself on the Cross was a one-time deal; but we, through our offering of bread and wine, ‘do celebrate and make here before thy Divine Majesty, with these thy holy gifts which now offer unto thee, the memorial thy Son hath commanded us to make; having in remembrance his blessed Passion and precious death, his mighty resurrection and glorious ascension; rendering unto Thee most hearty thanks for the innumerable benefits procured unto by the same.’ This can be easily compared to the Byzantine corresponding Byzantine text and seen to be substantially identical. But then, the following paragraph in the Book of Common Prayer, the Invocation, was seen as categorically needing to be augmented to express a clear invocation of the Holy Spirit to make the Holy Gifts the Body and Blood of Christ.” – Mark Harrison 7-9-2006

One might add that, in Orthodox thinking, heaven and earth are joined, time isn’t the same (which is why an orthodox piety is to not carry watches into the eternity of the mystery), and the sacrifice is present at each communion – Christ is not re-sacrificed (that would be heresy), but he as the sacrifice is re-present with us in fullness, apart from the concerns of time.

To his point, the flippancy with which the rites can be viewed in much discussion of “going East” or “going West” seems to detract from the reverence proper to either.

December 18, 2007 Posted by | -- Anglican, Western Rite Liturgics, Western Rite Quotes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The WRV = Unilateral Shift in General Policy


“More recently, some Orthodox churches have also accepted the policy of admitting a “Western rite” to be used not by entire ecclesiastical bodies joining corporately the communion of the Orthodox Church, but by smaller splinter groups, who seceded from these Western churches to join Orthodoxy. As is well known, the Roman Catholic Church was–and is– following a similar policy in reverse by accepting small (or big) splinter groups into its own communion with the proviso that they would keep and preserve their Eastern rite.” – Fr. John Meyendorff, SVTQ 1980

One may express concern that this really is, therefore, a shift in general policy in the history of Orthodoxy (there are exceptions, but these demonstrate the rule), and therefore really is a matter for pan-Orthodox consideration rather than the unilateral behavior that resulted in Bishop Anthony’s encyclical, which few have shown that they understand in this light. But this is indeed precisely the driving problem that he addresses.

December 14, 2007 Posted by | Western Rite -- Pan-Orthodoxy, Western Rite Quotes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

ER is the Mother-Rite of America and Orthodox World


Fr. John Meyendorff writes: “It is also true, however, that since ths schism which occurred in the Middle Ages, Orthodoxy has *in practice* been preserved in the framework of an “Eastern” civilization, and its tradition has been shaped by the Great Church of Constantinople, i.e. Byzantium. It is from there that it spread to many other areas, and it is the Byzantine liturgy, translated into many languages, which has served for centuries as the principal, and sometimes the only vehicle for the living tradition of the Orthodox faith. In this Byzantine liturgical form, Orthodoxy was also brought to America.

Meanwhile, the Christian Tradition of the West was embroiled in changes and crises, which we, as Orthodox, cannot consider uniformly legitimate. And today, the schism still exists, and differences in faith show themselves in different forms of worship.” – SVTQ 1980

One cannot help but further observe that not only have the Orthodox, who used the Eastern Rite, preserved the living Faith of Orthodoxy, but also transmitted it to the Celts, the Russians, to America, Australia, and so on. The Eastern Rite, in some sense at least, is our Mother, just as those Churches are our Mother Churches.

In the case of the US, Archbishop Dmitri of Dallas and the South (OCA) replied to the Pat. of Constantinople concerning the latter’s assertion to be Patriarch of our Mother Church, that in fact the Russian Church is the Mother Church of the Americas; it is from her that our churches came, and from her so many American Saints. The Orthodox roots of America, one may conclude, our in the Russian Church, the Eastern Rite, and the Saints who brought them both to us. The idea that Westerners who wish to truly convert now insist on a different rite, begs the question of whether they or we any longer truly regard it as conversion. It may be argued quite reasonably that the American Orthodox tradition lies in continuity with, not irregularity regarding, our great Mother Church of Russia and her holy, righteous, and glorified Saints of America. One might ask, in this sense, then, what Antioch has to do with it, and whether this pushing so hard for the WRV to become the norm is with these things in mind.

December 13, 2007 Posted by | Western Rite Questions | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Platonism, Fullness of Faith, Unity, Open Debate


Fr. John Meyendorff: “I will not try to enumerate here all the dimensions of the issue, which clearly involves the very nature of the current Orthodox witness in the world. The Orthodox Church has never considered its liturgy to be frozen once and for all in the limited cultural forms of tenth-century Byzantium. Of course, these forms are unequalled as an expression of the Tradition of the Church, but even they, as Fr. Schmemann likes to insist in his writings, have been often misunderstood and misinterpreted in categories of a platonizing symbolism of doubtful quality. On the other hand, if it wants to be credible in the West, the Orthodox Church can and should not only liberate itself of that which is unauthentic in its own historical past, but also assume everything which is true and beautiful in Western Christianity. But, in so doing, it must avoid simplifications, amateurism, superficiality, deceit and arrogance, which it so easily condemns in others. The liturgy is not a game of arbitrarily interchangeable rites, but an act of faith reflecting our salvation in Christ within the unity and the catholicity of the Church.

The debate about the Western rite is, therefore, both ecclesiological and pastoral. It is concerned with the relationship between the *lex orandi* and the *lex credendi* in the Catholic Church–a relationship which has remained very real in Orthodoxy, and has been greatly loosened in the West–and with concrete needs of the Orthodox mission. It is not about the legitimacy of a Western rite as such, but about the real situation of today’s Western Christianity, about the confused religious situation in America today, about the highly responsible task of building up an American church truly Orthodox and genuinely united, and finally about the issue of Christian unity in general. What is also needed is a joint pan-Orthodox decision on the matter, and therefore a preliminary open debate.1980 SVTQ [all emphasis ours]

December 11, 2007 Posted by | Western Rite -- Pan-Orthodoxy, Western Rite Quotes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Another Interesting Discussion


This is an… [odd source]… but we really don’t do ad hominem here, so we’re including it anyway.

It is, an interesting discussion – much more so than we’re finding on the WR enthusiast sites.

December 11, 2007 Posted by | Western Rite Weirdness | , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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