Western Rite Critic

A Balance to Contagious Enthusiasm

Maybe the Rite isn’t the Core of the Problem Anyway?


Would it be fair to say that many of the problems plaguing Western Rite initiatives are endemic to their parent jurisdictions? Would something like the following chart be a fair way to compare these problems?

Eastern Rite Western Rite
Includes some WR people who were pressured to “Byzantinize” Includes many converts who were pressured to “go Western Rite”
Sometimes treating WR brethren as second class Often dismissing ER brethren as outmoded and irrelevant
Can exhibit East European Phyletism Frequently exhibits Anglo-American & West European Phyletism
Confusion about what is Orthodox Confusion about what is Western
Twin problems of Neopapism & Anticlericalism Twin problems of Neopapism and Congregationalism
Alien (im)pieties: general absolution, deprecation of all things seen among Russians Alien pieties: sacred heart, stations of the cross, rosary
Abbreviated Liturgics, and deprecation of the full range of services, vigils, etc. Serious liturgical problems: Tridentine, BCP, and so-called Tikhon’s Liturgy
Confusion about what is piety and what is culture Confusion about what is culture and what what is piety
Inadequate Catechesis & Dubious Converstion Inadequate Catechesis & Dubious Converstion
Ecumenistic courting of Rome Ecumenistic courting of Rome
Deprecation of monasticism Deprecation of monasticism
Dubious evangelistic methods Dubious evangelistic methods
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May 15, 2008 Posted by | Western Rite Questions | , , , | 38 Comments

A Brief History of Rites


Diet Rite: For those prefer an abbreviated rite without all those lengthy prayers and repetitions like the Russians do. Alternately, this refers to an attitude about any rite that sees it purely as a matter for glue and scissors.

Stride Rite: For those who prefer pews and kneelers to the tradition that the Church pray standing, but who still say they’re going back to their Western heritage (i.e. just not that far back). Besides, it makes the comfortable Orthodox look bad.

Rite Aid: The practice of putting Eastern liturgical snippets in Anglican prayerbooks, whether as Sunday inserts or with some tape or glue. Beware Anglicans, groups of disgruntled Episcopalians may be going to work on your BCP’s this Saturday night. You could wake up and find yourself (just like the books) . . . Suddenly Orthodox!

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January 19, 2008 Posted by | -- Anglican, -- Phyletism, Western Rite -- Tridentine Mass, Western Rite Liturgics, Western Rite Weirdness | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Timeline in the Future


tempus actum praegressus est

2038 The largest and fastest growing (for an estimated 25-30 years) group of Orthodox in the US has been using a Western Rite and refers to itself as Western Orthodox. It is essentially a revised Anglicanism with the filioque stripped out and a few technical changes. The Western Orthodox Church becomes normative for converts to Orthodoxy, and even for children of immigrants, as the older generation dies off. A process of dual-rite and then, in some-cases wholly Western rite services becomes the norm for many historic Orthodox Churches in America. This is never entirely the case, as in fact a new fascination for the perceived byzantine and ethnic content of the old rites is popular in some circles. A trend of condemning such “ethnic-fetishism” prevails.

2039 A US law is passed at the behest of powerful Church leaders, exempting from corporate audit discretionary funds of any amount which are in the direct or general control of a hierarch of any Church which can show existence pre-dating the US Constitution. Critics cry that religious groups are given special favor not available to corporations, and the Act is later modified somewhat, with interesting concessions granted to corporate entities that qualify for a new “super-corporate” status.

2040-2043 A pan-Orthodox American council is convened, out of which a single American Orthodox Church is declared. In 2042, the Metropolitain of the former Orthodox Church in America, who some say was placing too many conditions on union, is forcibly removed from office and placed in a mental institution. Critics are placed under a ban of silence, threatened with deprivation of the mysteries. A suit is filed in US Federal Court in 2043, but the Met. Mark of All America and Canada dies while under care, effectively silencing the argument. Some suggest the death was mysterious, but an official investigative commission is appointed, composed of federal and ecclesiastical representatives, and its official report finds that the Metropolitan’s deteriorating mental condition was due to a physical defect, and no foul play was found. The results of the 2043 sobor essentially eclipse concern about this and it is quickly, in most circles, forgotten.

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January 19, 2008 Posted by | -- Eschatology, Western Rite -- Pan-Orthodoxy, Western Rite Weirdness | , , , , | 1 Comment

WRV


Excerpts from the WR Dept page of the AA web site 1-17-2007, with questions and/or comments.

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January 16, 2008 Posted by | -- Anglican, -- Catechesis & Conversion, Western Rite -- Tridentine Mass, Western Rite Liturgics, Western Rite Seminal Material | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Unpacking the Buzzword of Culture


This really is an [excellent discussion], though I think the final comment misses the point viz a viz eschatological vs. evangelical, but at it’s core it’s the cultural argument unpacked. The discussion unpacks the buzzword “culture” into things like aesthetics, and then asks whether aesthetics is a sound basis for critique of a rite an establishment of an alternative, likewise observing that a) anything new is foreign to start with and b) past cultures have only very gradually (e.g. over 1000 years) evolved what they received aesthetically – it was not a program to be started yesterday, with hastily cobbled texts, and hastily converted choirs.

December 26, 2007 Posted by | Western Rite Questions | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lacks Occidentalis


A response to Lux Occidentalis quoted in extenso, because it’s one of the only ones of substance we’ve seen:

If the article is what I believe it was intended to be, an apologetic for the western rite, I must say that it feel well short. If it set out to be a brief historical overview of the western-rite services, then it was at least partially successful. The author’s addressing of His Eminence, of Blessed Memory, was respectful, if only marginally so. But a few other things unrelated to the argument stood out and concerned me. First, his claim that St. John Chrysostom was an ‘Arab Christian,’ perhaps I am in error, but I fear this was the first time I have heard such a claim, does someone have some reference to suggest that St. John Chrysostom was indeed an Arab, or is this just poor scholarship? Secondly, I am quite disturbed by the profound disrespect this ‘Priest’ showed towards Patriarch Theodore VI of Antioch, the Great Canonist Balsamon.
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December 20, 2007 Posted by | Western Rite -- Tridentine Mass, Western Rite Liturgics, Western Rite Seminal Material | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Old Necessarily Good?


Another way to put it is: Just because Orthodox used it (even Saints), and it’s old, does that make it good?

“My second reason is that to say that Western Christians should be expected to follow a Western liturgy is to pre-judge the issue of the fitness of Western liturgy as suitable for Orthodox practise. On the one hand, we cannot say that it is unsuitable simply because it is not Byzantine, but we also cannot say that it inherently suitable simply because the existence of Western Rite is an historical reality. The present reality and the historical reality may or may not correspond. That is an issue that needs to be determined, not prejudged in either direction.” – Mark Harrison 7/9/2006

“I am NOT saying that WR is necessarily flawed, but I do believe that both the history of the Western liturgy and the very way in which Western worship communicates the faith, are areas that need examination. I deliberately included here evidence that would favour the use of the Anglican canon, as well as evidence that points to problems which far greater and more authoritative people than I have observed. I did so with the hope of demonstrating how complex the matter is. This is why I have always said that WR can neither be justified simply on the basis of the historical use of Western liturgy in the Orthodox Church, nor condemned on the simple basis of it not being Byzantine” – Ibid

December 20, 2007 Posted by | Western Rite Quotes | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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