Tuesday, August 03, 2010

a Roman crapshoot...

... whenever I travel I have a decision to make. Which parish to attend to fulfill my Sunday obligation. This can be a particularly risky venture when visiting a church you are not familiar with. You never know what you'll get... tambourines and dancing women balancing bowls of incense on their heads. It's a crapshoot.... if you are a Roman.

Being Eastern Rite this isn't an issue. A Divine Liturgy is a Divine Liturgy is a Divine Liturgy.

It saddens me to make plans to attend mass and have friends suddenly warn me not attend a specific parish. How was I to know; how does any one know? They have parish directories. Even Latin mass directories. Maybe there should be a directory for, being charitable and not saying the "H" word, "liberal" parishes. So those who prefer to worship in the horizontal can not be shocked to stumble into a parish with incense pluming from thuribles instead of whirling Dervishes. I can only imagine how horrible that would be for them.

I only have every one's best interest at heart.

Which brings me back to Divine Liturgy. I think the concept of having "special" liturgies to fit every one's spiritual needs to be contradictory to the universal nature of the church. Isn't the point of having a Universal Church that you can celebrate mass anywhere in the world and it be mass? I have found myself in some Roman churches actually afraid to receive the Blessed Sacrament because the whole liturgy was so befuddled and convoluted and con-celebrated with pastors of different faiths. Yes, afraid.

I hear the argument that people are entitled to worship in the manner they are most comfortable. But are they really? Is that a legitimate "entitlement"? If the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass isn't about "us", but instead Christ, than why is there such a focus and movement among the Romans to have tailored liturgies... Charismatic Catholics, Hippy Mass, Halloween Mass, Children and Teen Masses... you get the idea.

This isn't something that one sees in the Eastern Church. At least I have not encountered a similar phenomenon among the Byzantines.


an oldie, but goodie motivational poster created ages ago by Steve.


Joe (Defend Us In Battle) said...

I am actually attending my first CATHOLIC Divine Liturgy this weekend.

A friend of mine converted from Protestantism to Orthodoxy, so I am familiar with the general form of the DL.

While I was talking with my friend that is Byzantine (orig. Roman Rite) we had this discussion. It is frustrating that the Roman Rite is sooo unpredictable. It shouldn't be that way, and to comment is just beating a bongo (nice eh?).

So what do we do? I think it is important that we start talking about it. And I don't mean complaining on blogs. I mean getting to know our fellow parishioners, those that we allegedly share the faith with and talking. Explaining. Teaching. Learning. Change must come from within... we must be a catalyst.

Suz said...

laughing ... took me a while to figure out what the "H" word was. I was thinking, "Hummina Hummina parishes?" ...same thing as Heretical I guess!

John said...

Pray, Pray PRAY. I used to travel a great deal and the one constant I noticed was that almost all H litergies had old priests. More new priests.

Talk to your sons. I have told both my sons to ignore the parishners who talk to them about being priests (because they were good alter servers). That is between God and them. I also told them that if God is calling them to the priesthood, they had better listen, because they are unlikely to be happy otherwise. But again, that is between them and God. Personally, I think both my boys would be great priests, and I've told them that; but God isn't asking my advice.

Love. God even loves heretics. Who am I to argue. Sometimes I wonder if they are here to perfect my patience. If so, that would explain why there are so many . . . :-)

Just another mad Catholic said...

Kat dear

you've given the best argument for the Tridentine Mass I've ever heard, as Fr. Trilgilio once said that the East was a haven of Orthodoxy whilst the liberals were having DIY liturgies. We need ONE rite and one set of ruberics with priests being told to say the black and do the Red

ben said...

We have two Byzantine Catholic parishes in the area. One Ruthenian and one Ukrainian. I can't tell much difference between them, but to hear the congregations talk about each other, one is more liberal than the other. Maybe it's the old "they all look the same to me" syndrome.

But I much enjoy attending them when I get the chance.

Amy said...

I'm lucky that my husband knows (or knows of) the priests in the diocese and which parishes to avoid lest we be exposed to liturgical insanity.

Once, toward the end of my second pregnancy, I had a massively bad sinus infection. As in, I thought the left side of my face (eyeball, nose, cheek) was going to explode. So we went to the closest parish to our house so afterward I could go to walk-in clinic for treatment. It was Pentecost and they had liturgical dance. Surely this earned me some sort of special graces, right?

But I agree with your assertion that the Mass should be universal. I can't for the life of me understand why or how we did away with the Latin Mass that would allow me to attend a Mass from Topeka to Tokyo and know what's going on. Now we have Masses in all manner of languages and "styles" to make individuals happy but these often end up being exclusive to all but the select few who like middle-aged women in tied-dyed leotards dancing down the aisles.

Anita Moore said...

Of course the Mass should be universal. That is one of the reasons it was stupid to try to throw away Latin. Now our parishes are balkanized along linguistic/ethnic lines because of Mass in the vernacular.

The Byzantines have been trying off and on to establish a foothold in my diocese for years -- without success -- so I have been to some Divine Liturgies. They are beautiful and reverent, but I just have no interest in changing rites. I much prefer the TLM. I know it's politically correct to claim to love the Novus Ordo, and to recognize that it's valid -- yeah, it's valid -- but I frankly hope and pray for its total disappearance.

Vincenzo said...

Anita: "I know it's politically correct to claim to love the Novus Ordo, and to recognize that it's valid -- yeah, it's valid -- but I frankly hope and pray for its total disappearance."

'We must strip from our Catholic Prayers and from the Catholic
liturgy everything which can be a shadow of a stumbling block
for our separated brethren, that is for the Protestants.'
— Archbishop Annibale Bugnini, architect of the 'New Mass.' L'Osservatore Romano, March 19, 1965

There's our vocation and faith killing Novus Ordo.

As Crescat Award ("Best Spiritual Treat") winning blogger Tara said yesterday, "Jesus present
in the Holy Eucharist--that would be a stumbling block to Protestants."

nazareth priest said...

Oh boy!
Did you ever lob a bomb here!
I agree.
You won't find "secularized" Divine Liturgies in the Eastern Rite; no way.
The little old ladies would tar and feather good old Father before he knew what hit him!
Babushkas rule! (That may the Polish term; don't know the other terms, but you know what I mean!)
And yes.
One day, God willing, the Roman Rite will be truly unified, transcendent, directed to God our Father through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit.
Let us pray to our Lady for this.

Minkykat said...

This is YELP.com can be helpful.
In trying to find a church to attend near a new job, I was able to sidestep a couple of canidates based on the reviews the either praised or condemed the "progressiveness" of the parish.

This is nuts. We are Catholic, not Asslembly of God or whatever else. Please bring back the good old RC!

Anonymous said...

A liar is not believed when he speaks the truth.............................................................

nazareth priest said...

Speak English, please!

s-p said...

Cat, Your post gave me a twinge. I was raised pre-Vatican II, daily Latin Mass altar boy for 7 years, parochial schools. Became a protestant for 25 years (long story), and decided to go back to Rome. In 1991 attended a Christmas Mass. I left when the nubile young woman in the black leotard came down the aisle doing an interpretive dance with rainbow ribbons to the "new agey" band to the right of the altar playing their version of "The Lord's Prayer". I did a stint in a fairly conservative ECUSA parish that went goofy and ended up in the Orthodox Church 6 years later. If I had any confidence at all that the American Bishops of Rome could or would reel it back in even to a modicum of consistency and basic reverence rather than egos on parade, I would have stayed. But I see the American Roman Church in the same light as my experience in the Episcopal Church: you have parish to parish bunker mentality (ie., virtual protestant congregationalism) each trying to hold back the tide of either "traditionalism" or "liberalism" from infiltrating their community. Forgive me if this comes off like an OC recruiting comment, but I still grieve for my loss of my "home in Rome".

Andrea said...

LOL I love that picture caption!!

Anyway, you make some very valid points. My hubby and I are in the process of considering moving to the Byzantine Rite because of this very problem. Being in Las Vegas, it just happens to be a whole lot worse here than in many other places. Except for the Byzantines. They are rock solid. Always.

The Blind Guide said...

I think you're on to something, Blogmother. What about a Fr. Z initiative? Think about it: a Say the Black, Do the Red Mass directory. The faithful have the right to proper rubrics.

Dr. Eric said...


Things are not all that rosy on the other side of the Danube. There have been many many Catholics who left the Byzantine Catholic Church of America to go to Orthodoxy because the BCA has changed the Divine Liturgy. Others have left because of lingering Latinizations in their Churches.

Anonymous said...

The Orthodox and Eastern Catholics are a tremendous testimony to tradition. But they have their own problems. Westerners often feel like little more than interlopers in these ethnic enclaves. The de facto abolition of Latin has created a similar effect in the Roman Church, with culture-specific (and ideologically slanted) translations and all manner of self-expressions standing in for liturgical tradition. All the same, from the outside looking in, she seems a lot more friendly to a melting-pot American type (even a traditionalist M-P-A type). Look before you leap. And there are plenty of heretics in the Byzantine Rite (some of them just plain liberals, and some of them more-Eastern-than-thou wanna be Orthodox).

Mark M said...

Enjoyed the motivational poster. Attended a Melkite liturgy last year; it was wonderful.

Christopher Lake said...

As a Latin rite Catholic, I would love to visit an Eastern Catholic parish, but I don't think that I would change rites unless the circumstances were very severe. Perhaps if there were no strong Roman parishes anywhere within traveling distance, I might switch, but even then, I sense that I would struggle with feelings of somehow "abandoning" the rite under which I came into the Church. I'm not saying that anyone else should feel this way, but I think that I would.

With that said, over ten years ago (ironically, at a time when I still had not truly even returned to Christianity at all), I attended an Orthodox Church of America liturgy in D.C. and was very moved. Quite an experience.