Russian Orthodox Patriarch on Pope Benedict and Latin liturgy

Rorate tips us, and I tip back   o{]:¬)   to an interesting comment in the Italian monthly 30 Giorini, of the Orthodox Patriarch of Russia, Alexius II, about the derestriction of the older form of Mass by the Pope of Rome.

I posted on this news months ago it seems, but this is a great moment to recall that we cannot expect the Orthodox to take us seriously if we show the world that we have contempt for our Tradition.

Not my translation, but my emphases:

30 Giorni: What has the recent text of Pope Benedict on Latin in the liturgy meant to you? Does you Church also find itself today facing delicate liturgical questions? Besides, have you read the recent letter of the Pope to the Chinese Catholics? For the eightieth birthday of the Pope, you wrote, among other things, that "that which renders your position convincing is that you, as a theologian, is not merely a scholar of theoretical thought, but above all a sincere and deeply devout Christian who speaks from the bountifulness of your heart (cf. Mt 12, 34)". In what [aspect] do you find yourself today in greater agreement with pope Benedict?

Alexis II: "I believe that the question of the liturgical language and the relations among the various components of the Roman Catholic Church are internal matters. As for us, who are a Church for which the concept of Tradition has great meaning, the tension to find efficacious forms of harmonization between the centuries-old experience and the objective present-day reality and demands is nevertheless quite understandable and familiar. I see in this one of the most valuable aspects of the work of the current Pope of Rome, Benedict XVI."

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11 Responses to Russian Orthodox Patriarch on Pope Benedict and Latin liturgy

  1. Geoffrey says:

    I have heard that the Eastern Orthodox are watching us very closely, to see what happens with the liturgy. I have a feeling liturgical abuses frighten them more than the papacy!

  2. Jim says:

    If one could go back to the time of Charlemagne, the Latin and the Eastern liturgies would have seemed closer than is the case today. I believe Pope Benedict will make great progress in bringing the Eastern churches back into communion with Rome. This will be possible because of the very great emphasis that Benedict and the Eastern churches place on tradition and liturgy.

    I recently started attending an Eastern rite parish in my small town because the local Roman rite parish has lost any sense of tradition. I am not hung up on “Latin.” I have seen many reverent celebrations of the NO nor do I demand the TLM, but the local Roman rite priests treat the Mass as if it were stand up comedy time. I recently saw a priest leave the altar during communion, go to the piano, and entertain the congregation while eucharistic ministers distributed communion. The same priest continually departs from the text of the mass and ad libs in places. I cannot receive communion when I find myself so angry.

    The Eastern churches are simply not going to enter into communion with Rome while this kind of abuse continues. It needs to be nipped in the bud by bishops who demand proper reverence and adherence to the rubrics. There would be open rebellion in an orthodox or Eastern rite church were eucharistic abuses to occur during the celebration of the Divine Liturgy similar to those I have witnessed.

  3. Michael says:

    Abuses DO occur in the Divine Liturgy, but they are rarer. The Orthodox Churches have not succumbed to modernism the same way the Catholic Church has, but they aren’t completely immuned to its disasterous effects. Of course, whereas you could walk into pretty much any Catholic Church and see bad liturgy, you have to hunt it out in the Orthodox Church. Bad liturgy is more likely to mean saying the epiclesis out loud or not pulling the curtain across for the consecration. I believe these kinds of abuses are pretty much standard in Eastern Catholic Churches, but still rare in the Orthodox Church.

    Have a look at these photos from formerly Eastern Catholic New Skete, and you’ll see what I mean:

    http://flickr.com/photos/mariagwyn/217871071/in/set-72157594241004604/

  4. Woody Jones says:

    Having been there at one time, I would comment that the Orthodox whom I have known are suspicious about Rome for many reasons, the failure to follow Tradition certainly being among the foremost, another being the treatment (i.e. imposed Latinization) of the Eastern Catholic churches during much of the time from their accession to Rome until Vatican II. Thus I heard it said that they were so afraid that “you can’t resist the Borg”, or in other words that despite the Council’s indications, they would be absorbed, not just united.
    Now where I have I heard this before recently? Oh yes, in connection with the application of the Traditional Anglican Communion, I have noted with dismay the number of experts who insist on precisely that–absorption not union. The argument that what their ancestors did 500 years ago controls their fate today, insofar as a juridical arrangement (or lack thereof) goes, is just not going to get the job done, whatever the technical validity of the position.

  5. Matt Q says:

    Woody Jones wrote:

    “Having been there at one time, I would comment that the Orthodox whom I have known are suspicious about Rome for many reasons, the failure to follow Tradition certainly being among the foremost, another being the treatment (i.e. imposed Latinization) of the Eastern Catholic churches during much of the time from their accession to Rome until Vatican II. Thus I heard it said that they were so afraid that “you can’t resist the Borg”, or in other words that despite the Council’s indications, they would be absorbed, not just united. Now where I have I heard this before recently? Oh yes, in connection with the application of the Traditional Anglican Communion, I have noted with dismay the number of experts who insist on precisely that—absorption not union. The argument that what their ancestors did 500 years ago controls their fate today, insofar as a juridical arrangement (or lack thereof) goes, is just not going to get the job done, whatever the technical validity of the position.”

    ()

    Woody, what then do you suggest the Church does about the TAC?

    1. They enter simply as Catholics and use the Rite of Anglican Use; or,

    2. Be declared a Rite unto their own, i.e. the Maronites, etc., and bring them in that way?

    I think this is a very interesting issue and hope Rome brings them into the Fold in a beneficial way. They would be a great addition to the Church, a good way to hear the Mass without the silly English used for the present Novus Ordo and, I’m most certain, free of the dumbed down “inclusive” language. Isn’t anyone aware of how phony things sound when hearing such adulterated wording?!!

  6. Matt Q says:

    Michael, re the link http://flickr.com/photos/mariagwyn/217871071/in/set-72157594241004604, I had a good laugh. That looks like something I saw at Target in the children’s linen section, and to parade around in it yet.

    This brings up a serious point. I find this juvenile silliness in men more than women and I see it especially in the clergy. This really gives me reason to think about the mindset and the criteria of the various Vocations offices and what criteria they use to admit such men. If one understands behavioral science, it’s something which doesn’t necessarily develop down the line but something already innate in their personality. This isn’t good at all.

  7. fxavier says:

    I think the Orthodox aren’t only worried about abuse. They worry about the organic development of the Liturgy. This is all about whether the Novus Ordo stems from (is organic to) Apostolic roots. If you think it does, read Bugnini’s memoirs from Collegeville Liturgical Press.

    Lex orandi, lex credendi. When you break one, you break the other.

  8. Michael R. says:

    New Skete is run by a bunch of former Franciscans who left the Catholic Church in the 1960s. Their liturgical idiosyncracies are not tupical of either Orthodox or Byzantine Catholic practice. Neither saying the epiclesis aloud nor failure to draw curtains across the Royal Doors is necessarily an abuse. There are a lot of minor regional variations in Byzantine Rite practice, just as there were in the Roman rite before 1570.

  9. Michael R. says:

    New Skete is run by a bunch of former Franciscans who left the Catholic Church in the 1960s. Their liturgical idiosyncracies are not typical of either Orthodox or Byzantine Catholic practice. Neither saying the epiclesis aloud nor failure to draw curtains across the Royal Doors is necessarily an abuse. There are a lot of minor regional variations in Byzantine Rite practice, just as there were in the Roman rite before 1570.

  10. woodyjones says:

    Hi Matt,

    In answer to your question, I would think that an Apostolic Administration (a la Campos) would be the best that could be done, and it actually would seem (to my non-canon lawyer eye) to fit with the concept of sticking with the same rite, etc. There would also be issues surrunding the form of the liturgy, which in the TAC varies somewhat depending in where you are, but in general would probably be the Anglican Missal (TLM in English) or modified BCP (more like the AU liturgy). We in the AU could then link up with them, to the benefit more for us than for them, I would think, but still a good deal all around. This set up would leave unsolved some of the problems that currently exist, e.g., groups that want to become an AU personal parish but can’t get the local ordinary’s approval, of which I think New York has had one such, and North Carolina (I don’t know if they are still active because, as one might expect, folks get discouraged and stop trying after a while).

    All the best.

  11. Aelric says:

    I could not think where else to post this, but I would love to made to understand this (and wonder what the Eastern Rite Churches must think):

    Il Papa ha nominato Membri della Congregazione per le Chiese Orientali gli Em.mi Cardinali Roger Michael Mahony e Edward Michael Egan.

    If the former is not a “liturgical abuse” what is?