Western Rite Critic

A Balance to Contagious Enthusiasm

Beautiful Western Pieties

A neat Western Orthodox piety: it is a pious custom to cleanse the palate with wine or water immediately after communion, and then to fast from all other food or drink for an hour, out of honor, because we have received the True Food that fulfills all food, and the true Drink that quenches all thirst.

Another pious custom: to remove watches when going to liturgy, because the liturgy is the cosmic liturgy in which the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ is made present, so that time in the liturgy is not the same kind of time as in the world. Heaven and Earth are joined and the Church is Heaven on Earth in which God walks around. Continue reading

January 19, 2008 Posted by | -- Phyletism, Western Rite Pieties | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Four Quotes

Justifying the rite can easily obscure the mentality of some of those who use the rite to create a homogenized ghetto of non-ethnics, in resistance to the supposed monolithicworld of ethnics out there. In reality, often enough, its just a ghetto of middle-class American values, and the other issues are symbolic.

This is not a reprint but an abbreviated excerpt of four quotations (addressed to WR Orthodox) from an article here (1/8/2007):
[we tried to link to it, but his links don’t work]

1. The reality is that most Western Orthodox Christians (that is, Orthodox Christians living in the West and possessing a Western culture) are Byzantine Rite and see no contradiction between their rite and their culture. Most of them have never heard of you.

2. When you use sarcastic phrases like the oh-so-mystical East, you give yourself away as being as much of an East-hater as you believe your brothers in the Byzantine parts of the Orthodox Church are West-haters. Many of you used to be Episcopalians besieged by utter heretics. It’s okay, though—you’re now among the Orthodox. You’re no longer besieged. You can take the battlements down and lower your weapons. Yes, there are folks in the Orthodox Church who do not understand you or even suspect the validity of your Orthodoxy. You won’t help them to accept you fully by sarcasm or a fortress mentality, however.

3. You were received into this Church and not into the pre-Schism Western Church. That means that you can’t pretend that people like St. Gregory Palamas aren’t relevant to you. For one thing, there is no East-West dividing line for what is needful in the Church, and for another, those to whom you rightly look for inspiration in the ancient West absolutely had zero problem with adopting the “Eastern” language and theology of their time (where, quite frankly, most of the serious doctrinal work was being done, due to heresy). They even adopted liturgical customs! It’s not a question of what’s appropriate to “the East” or “the West,” but what is Orthodox. Anything else is really a form of phyletism.

4. You do not have more in common with either the Roman Catholic or Anglican communions than you do with the Byzantine Rite Orthodox. Thinking or speaking as though you do is really just a schism waiting to happen.

January 8, 2008 Posted by | -- Phyletism, Western Rite Quotes | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nothing Ethnic About Eastern Rite

Excellent Response to the Ethnicity Argument and the Cultural Argument:

“If we wish to help western persons joining Orthodoxy, the best way is to offer them the possibility of attending the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom in the English language. There is nothing “oriental” or “ethnic” about this Liturgy. True, it was written in Greek and not in Latin; but then Plato and Sophocles wrote in Greek, yet we recognize them as part of our shared European culture. The same is true of St. John Chrysostom. We English can feel thoroughly at home in his Liturgy – as I know from my own experience.” – Bishop Kallistos (Ware) of Diokleia, The Priest. A Newsletter for the Clergy of the Diocese of San Francisco. Issue No. 5, May 1996 [emphasis added]

January 4, 2008 Posted by | -- Phyletism, -- What is Western?, Western Rite Quotes | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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