Eastern Catholicism – UR DOIN IT WRONG!

18 09 2010

Source: a new church in Romania

Honestly, I am sort of in the “f$%k it” stage of Catholicism right now. Hey, if it makes some old women happy, why the hell not!? On Eagles’ Wings? Sure, sing your little heart out! Infant of Prague statues? Hey, I rock that stuff myself. Want to hand out Communion to your friends? Hey, the Pope said it was okay. Because as long as we keep the old ladies happy, everything will be alright. Once they get pissed off, there will be a shit storm that will make us all head for the hills in panic. Mark my words, all you sherry-sippin’, effeminate bastards who actually care two maniple shakes about the liturgy. Let them have their way, or we will all be in big trouble!


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17 07 2012
Zenmed Rosacea Reviews

Zenmed Rosacea Reviews You can see the difference in each picture I now have no redness, no more spots and my skin is less greasy. See this stuff really works. So thank you again Zenmed you are my savior!

20 11 2010
Brian

I have no idea what I am supposed to be looking for in the picture.

17 10 2010
(Fr) David Bird osb

I am a 73 year old Benedictine monk, superior of a small foundation on the outskirts of Lima, Peru. Not long ago, some people came to our Novus Ordo, facing the people, Spanish language with Latin Gregorian chant conventual Mass. Without knowing anything about St Vladimir and those who attended the Divine Liturgy in Constantinople, they began to enthuse afterwards. “I did bot know whether I was in heaven or on earth!” exclaimed one old lady to the nods of the others. A couple of monks of my community in England went on a church crawl in Minsk, guided by an Orthodox priest. One was an example of perfectly correct Byzantine liturgical correctness. The other included a statue of Our Lady of Fatima. “Which is Catholic?” he asked. The one with the statue of Our Lady was Orthodox and the other was Catholic.

There are many examples of wonderful celebrations of Catholic liturgy according to the “new rite” in which holiness becomes tangible; and there were many examples of shoddy, careless, irreverent celebrations of the Eucharist before the council changes. Once in the seventies, when a group of boys from our private boarding school began to mourn the passing of a Latin liturgy they had never experienced, an old Irish Franciscan priest came to our monastery as a guest. I thought that the combination of “Irish” and “Franciscan” presented an opportunity that it would have been a sin to miss. I asked him to celebrate the “old” Mass for the group, which he did with enthusiasm. They were duly shocked. He rushed through the ritual with all the speed of a rugby forward. He murdered the Latin. His gestures were careless and ungainly. “Oh,” I said, “Many celebrated Mass like him in the old days; but nobody noticed because they didn’t understand Latin. As long as what happened was familiar, they could get on with their rosaries.”

There is a lot of wonderful liturgy nowadays – I presume also in America – liturgy that suffers none of the shortcomings that “traditionalists” complain about. There is also a lot of horrible liturgy as well; but it simply untrue that everything is slipping down hill. I belong to a community that, in England, is doing well in vocations. I know many other who have no problem in that way. The man who has given up on Catholicism obviously does not belong to the same church as I do.
David Bird

28 09 2010
Bernard Brandt

Dear Arturo:

I really like your weblog. I have been following it, thanks to (or if you prefer to blame him, due to) The Young Fogey. I like the approach, which is very nearly that of ‘a voice crying in the wilderness’. The present apospasmatic (or if you prefer, ‘fragmentary’) age may be a technological terror or wonder (depending upon one’s point of view), but it is also a spiritual desert. Too many words. Not enough logos. Someone needs to call it for what it really is. Thanks for doing your part.

I have passed the various Kubler-Ross stages as regards Catholicism, from denial as regards how bad it is, to rage over its many failings, to bargaining (‘if only we restore Gregorian Chant. . .’, ‘if only we face the East. . .’, ‘if only we trust His Holiness, the Pope. . .’), to acceptance that it will really never change, save to get worse and worse. I’m expecting the parishes of St. Gilles de Retz in Laguna Beach, or Ss. Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas in either Oakland or Long Beach, or that we have discovered the ancient Liturgy of the Laodiceans, any day now.

I really don’t care any more. I am totally reconciled to the fact that, in spite of the high pronouncements and councils of perfection in the Second Vatican Council (and a lot of good scriptural, patristic and traditional advice there as well), Roman Catholicism in the United States and most other places appears to combine the worst aspects of a clerocracy and the booboisie of H.L. Mencken, and the lunatics in charge of the asylum will continue to do whatever they damned well please.

If you wish to consider this attitude as triumphalism, while I cling to my home parish of St. Andrew Russian Catholic Church with the fervor of a castaway holding on to his piece of wreckage, and for much the same reasons, then I suppose that the First Amendment would entitle you to your opinion. So far.

Unfortunately, I agree with you that the same rot is entering the Eastern Catholic Churches as well. As one example, most RC castaways who have clung to the Ruthenians (as but one example) are happy that their pieces of wreckage, which they call Byzantine Catholic Churches, are still above water. The old timers, among them many Rusyns who have been there far longer, have confessed to the same sinking feeling, though, and have either already bailed or are waiting to bail for something a bit more seaworthy.

I would also agree with you that it is best not to p*ss off the little old ladies. Of such are the stuff of St. Mary of Egypt, or St. Joan of Arc. Pat their heads patronizingly, and you are more than likely to draw back a stump. But from where I am standing, most of them are already more than a bit, er, peeved with both RC and EC churches. They are oh, so, hungry for that little taste of heaven which an honest prayer (or a well-served Liturgy) brings forth, and too many of the clerks have been depriving them of even the slightest of those tastes. Bad idea.

Speaking of other tastes, while I will sip Jerez if you set it before me, I much prefer either Modelo Negra or Guinness, at room temperature, thank you. I’d be happy to buy the first round, as we speak of Pico della Mirandola or the Christian Cabbalists and Neo-platonists.

23 09 2010
synleszka

I think that it is best that we allow Greek Catholics to define their faith without being forced to be lambasted by how far they are from the assumed definition of Christian perfection, which for many is the Pravoslavie-Orthodoxy. The Orthodox are not perfect and they should not be held up as a gold standard for Christians. Greek Catholicism has developed as it has and all of this development is organic, therefore I see no legitimate reasons to paint them as the devil. The external trappings of Orthodoxy do not possess any salvific value ipso facto. Often and for many Orthodox, the Orthodox way of life is a burden too heavy to carry.

22 09 2010
Tancred

More preoccupation with instrumental causes. That may have been your problem all along.

22 09 2010
Confused with no Background

I’ve actually heard an Independent Baptist refer to the Orthodox as “Catholics with beards.” I think this was as far as his knowledge went. I guess he didn’t know about Eastern Rite Catholics :-).

I must admit that I probably chose Anglicanism because it seemed more acceptable to my Protestant sensibilities. It wasn’t until after the fact that I realized the Anglican parish I had chosen had relics of saints on the altar, had a priest who said the rosary in his personal devotions, and which held a service of the benediction of the blessed sacrament once a month. It’s probably a good thing that these “Catholic” elements sort of snuck up on me. I don’t think I would have been able to handle them all at once. I probably would have left if I had learned of the relics my first day at the parish.

22 09 2010
gaudium

You may have a point. My family was willing to tolerate my interest in Orthodoxy–until they decided to visit a service. Then they decided it was, quote, “as bad as the Catholics” and that I was headed straight for Perdition.

21 09 2010
Robert

“I’ve heard some Evangelical converts to Orthodoxy say that for them this was an easier road than converting to Catholicism because Orthodoxy doesn’t have the same cultural baggage for Evangelicals – their families would have gone ballistic had they told them they intended to become Catholic, but announcing an intention to become Orthodox would arouse no strong reaction (positive or negative) because the average Bible Belt Protestant doesn’t know enough about Orthodoxy to have an opinion about it.”

This reminds me of the time that I was in a heated debate with the founder of the notorius “Westborough” Baptist church, Fred Phelps, on a college campus in the Midwest. Phelps was ranting on about how evil and immoral Catholcism was and what a perversion of “Bible believing” Christianity it had become. At the time I was not Catholic, but was in my sojourn with Russian Orthodoxy. I shouted out from the crowd “Oh yea, well I’m Russian Orthodox Phelps, what do you think of that”? He stoped ranting to pause for a long moment obviously stuped by my question, This man, for all his supposed knowkledge of reliogn had obviously never heard of Russian Orthodoxy and had no idea what it was. After a few moments he returned to his ravings without ever having answered my question. This, to me personifies what the attitude of the tipical Bible thumper to Eastern Christianity so I can understand where you are coming from Max.

21 09 2010
Arturo Vasquez

I think that I have mislead people a bit in thinking that everyone needs to not convert to such-and-such, or that they should all stay in their religious heritage, and so on. I can assure you that I am under no such illusions that this is either possible or desirable in our circumstances, and it certainly isn’t the reason why I write in the first place. I don’t think converting to such-and-such will solve any problems. I do think that people need to step back and take a bird’s eye view of where they are in society and the cosmos, and make decisions accordingly. If that leads you to one place, that’s fine by me. If it leads you to another, all power to you. I could care less what you do or don’t do, since I don’t know who you are. You aren’t hurting me by what you do, and as for God, I don’t pretend to read His mind.

To steal a line from a friend of mine, life isn’t always about making the right decision or the wrong decision. It is about making the best decision. I can’t tell anyone what that is. Thinking that I believe that all people who convert to XYZ are in bad faith and lepers just shows that you can’t really know someone if you just know him over the Internet. The fact is, I have had friends who have gone from being Catholics to being Muslims or even atheists, and I was the last one to try to talk them out of it. At that point in their life, maybe that is what they needed to do to keep their sanity. But if they start getting up in my business about my own beliefs, start doing things that look ridiculous, and expect the whole world to go along with their eccentricities, yeah, I called them on it. That is what I do here, if only in a far more anonymous way. If you think I am talking about “lil’ ol’ you”, I have to reiterate that I don’t know you. So any similarity between you and the hypothetical people you think that I mention on this blog is purely coincidental.

21 09 2010
The Harlequin King

Old harpies is a long inside joke from the sound made by a certain Tridentine church choir made up mostly of old women and all sorts of bad experiences with old women in general and their plots. No more harmful than applying “effeminate, catty bastards” to young men who are obsessed with liturgy and have very particular aesthetic tastes.

To be as serious as a heart attack, though, I’m also at the f-it stage. I don’t really care what goes on at the Novus Ordo parish down the street anymore, I don’t actually like sherry, and while folks like Patricius have some interesting ideas I can sympathize with…. it’s just not worth getting angry about. I’ve got bigger things to worry about and video games if I need to be entertained.

21 09 2010
Mr. Crouchback

This post is making a lot of sense.

21 09 2010
Max

“As for my choice–I cast my lot with the Orthodox…. it is no more “foreign” to people of my ethnicity (Oklahoma redneck) than Catholicism.”

I’ve heard some Evangelical converts to Orthodoxy say that for them this was an easier road than converting to Catholicism because Orthodoxy doesn’t have the same cultural baggage for Evangelicals – their families would have gone ballistic had they told them they intended to become Catholic, but announcing an intention to become Orthodox would arouse no strong reaction (positive or negative) because the average Bible Belt Protestant doesn’t know enough about Orthodoxy to have an opinion about it.

21 09 2010
gaudium

If it helps, Confused, you’re not alone. You ask the question I’ve also been wanting to ask, though I don’t know if Arturo has an answer. (After all, it’s not part of his experience.)

The religious group of my upbringing is falling apart, with one wing wanting to hold to the fundamentalist “we-interpret-the-Bible-right-so-join-our-one-true-church-or-else” line, and the other wanting to become cheap imitations of mega-church evangelicals, only about 10 years behind. So even if I resigned myself to my jejune heritage, it would be gone before I reached 40–plus the little fact that I don’t buy the dogma anymore. I too went to grad school (though more on the applied math side), but I have always had enough of an amateur interest in history & philosophy that my dogmatic façade was starting to crumble even in HS, I think, though I hid it well even from myself. And I have woken up more than once in a cold sweat, afraid of hellfire.

As for my choice–I cast my lot with the Orthodox. (To be received at Christmas, Deo volente.) Arturo can laugh at me if he wants–but it is no more “foreign” to people of my ethnicity (Oklahoma redneck) than Catholicism. (You should have seen my grandmother’s reaction to a Holy Card of the Sacred Heart–first she had no clue what it was supposed to be, and then, when I told her it was a Catholic devotional image, she reacted like it was a rattlesnake. She couldn’t get away from it fast enough. Oddly enough, it was in my great-great grandmother’s trunk, and my grandmother spent the next ten minutes assuring me that she was not Catholic, and must not have know what it was!!)

20 09 2010
Confused with no Background

To be fair, I’ll note that, for someone who pretends to be so post-modern and intellectual, much of my search has been driven by a very pre-modern terror of eternal damnation. Make a choice in any direction, and you’re still falling under “extra ecclesiam nulla salus” for someone. And, to quote that great philosopher Geddy Lee, “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.”

20 09 2010
Confused with no Background

Maybe not the most relevant to this post, but relevant to a few comments. There’s a lot on this blog about family, legacy, culture, etc. I often find myself getting jealous, although I then question whether I’m idealizing. What of those of us with no Catholic or Orthodox past or whose past is so many generations removed as to be lost to the mists of time? My immediate background is upper-middle class white agnosticism/atheism on one side and working class white “Holiness” traditions on the other.

It seems, for me, like it or not, conversion would involve being either a middle class white Catholic of the EWTN variety or else a role playing-ish wannabe 19th century Russian peasant Orthodox convert. Both are equally disdained on this blog, and both probably for good reason, mind you.

I’ll also mention that, like others on this blog, I have been cursed with a grad level liberal arts education (theory and all!), so the arguments of the popular level convert apologists I’d be joining on either side drive me batty. Watching a Catholic Answers apologist debate James White is kind of like watching the B teams of both traditions hamfistedly slug it out. I can’t help feeling that an Ivy League historian of doctrine like Jerislav Pelikan could likely shred both with half his brain tied behind his back (although he did go EO himself, eventually).

So, is there a way to admit organic development of doctrine enough to not twist one’s intellect into a pretzel trying to pretend to believe what you can’t actually make yourself believe, without, on the other hand, falling over into the other ditch of relativistic liberalism? Particularly for those of us with no family tradition to fall back on? Once again, I’m probably idealizing, but I tend to find myself agreeing with much of what I’ve read of Belloc about modernism, post-industrial capitalism, etc. So, ironically, it would seem that my agreement with some aspects of Catholic social teaching would actually put me at odds with many of those white, middle class converts, sometimes dubbed Whig Thomists, who would likely become my peers.

Sorry for the rant. If anyone can sort this out or relate, I’d be happy for your comments.

20 09 2010
Charles Curtis

Tell us what you really think why don’t you, Arturo.

I’m Catholic because of my matralineal line – my mother, her mother, and my grandmother’s mother respectively married a mason, an old Mainer (a type indifferent to religion), and an atheist. Those three women somehow managed to transmit their faith to me, the only one of my two brothers and twelve cousins still practicing.

All three of them are of the no bullsh*t tough as nails offer it up school. Not peasants, more German Catholic burghers deeply inspired by the nuns. Not a lot of sentimentality or “superstition.” More about duty, reciprocal obligation, prayer and – dare I say it – love. That’s not to say there aren’t a lot of prayer cards, rosaries and devotional stuff around. There is.

I just wouldn’t call them Church Ladies, though. No. My grandmother was not happy with the changes after the Council. But her displeasure wasn’t about merely about the liturgy – in fact, it wasn’t about the liturgy at all. It was about the death of her culture.

When I read about you and your wife’s grandmothers and family, all of this is in the back of my head. In my twenties I went through a phase where I was drawn to the Legion. I went tramping around Europe reading Belloc for a while. Then, when I began reading more history and ran into the Orthodox, I converted and hung about for a few years with them.

It’s since become apparent to me that that I cannot escape my Grandmothers. I realized that I was being a fool, that even the Orthodox need Newman to explain how the new sacrifice and priesthood supplanted the old, and that I’d made a fetish out of my faith and destroyed my inner life by becoming a pseudo intellectual snob presuming to pass judgement on the aesthetics (and by extension faith) of the all those Church Ladies you’re talking about.

Anyway, I still wish I could march and hear mass with Louis IX and all that jazz, but have recognized it’s my – our -lot to live and pray in the late capitalistic decadence that surrounds us.

If we do it with humility, faith and love, we may find there are a few saints amongst us yet.

All of which is merely to say I loved this post, and when I hang with my Orthodox friends, we drink dry port. Thanks for the blog.

19 09 2010
Robert

Eastern Catholic churches have always had a tendency to be latinized. A lot of this was done by the personal choice of the priest and lay people rather then any Papal edict. In fact the Vatican has, for a long time fought against the latinizing influences of the Eastern rites, but damned if those tendencies don’t still pop up here and there, especially in the back woods of eastern Europe were the people have not been “enlightened” by the forces of liturgical renewal like their EC brethren in North America.
I say let them keep the traditions which they feel comfortable with and consider a mark of their identity and religious culture. If there is one thing that I can’t stand with a passion, it’s social engineering, (Especially the type in which these poor Eastern rite Catholics have been subjected to by their modernizing bishops). One could even say that the desire to “de-latinize” in the Eastern rites of today is almost as voracious and excessive as the pro-latinizing tendencies of past Easterners were. You could almost say that the present movement of “de latinization” is the modern equivalency of latinization among the easterners, just an attempt to appear trendy and modern “like the RC’s are, but with our own twist.”

19 09 2010
Arturo Vasquez

I guess that means you admit you’re an effeminate, catty bastard.

Seriously, what kind of grown man calls an old woman, “a harpy”? Old church ladies can be bad apples, but seriously?

P.S. This post was not meant to be sarcastic. I am as serious as a heart attack.

19 09 2010
Sam Urfer

It could also be a Latin parish being used for a Byzantine Liturgy; I’ve seen that done before, but there was a portable Iconostasis that time.

19 09 2010
The Harlequin King

Old harpies have been ruling the Church for some time, though I can’t point my finger on exactly when. I hate their tyrannical grip, though.

*sips on sherry… err, Mountain Dew, rather*

19 09 2010
Sean

The hater lurking in the foreground is more disturbing..

19 09 2010
Arturo Vasquez

More old ladies. They reproduce themselves like avatars of an archetype.

19 09 2010
Max

When I first looked at the photo, I thought, “Well, maybe they just haven’t installed the iconostasis yet.” I’ve visited Eastern Catholic parishes with new buildings that were already being used for services even though they hadn’t installed an iconstasis yet (though in each case it was made clear that the iconostasis was on the way – the lack of one was considered purely temporary).

As I looked more closely at the photo, though, I could see that there were other problems. The orientation of the altar isn’t clear, but the kneelers and the statutes of Our Lady of Fatima and the Sacred Heart are pretty obvious. There’s a difference between an unfinished Byzantine church and a Latinized one, and this is clearly an example of the latter.

In light of these comments, I might as well plead guilty to being one of the sherry-sippers. If we keep the old ladies happy but drive everyone else away with lousy liturgy, there won’t be much of a Church left to argue about.

18 09 2010
sortacatholic

I stopped caring about Catholicism a long time ago, but you’d never know that from my posts here at Reditus.

The church looks like a rural Irish church teleported to Somewhere, Eastern Europe. It’s crypto-Jansenist in its iconoclasm and whitewashed walls. As a result of latinization some Eastern Catholic churches in North America do not have iconostases, so that’s not shocking. I’m not surprised that latinization has taken hold in Romania. There are long-standing German and Hungarian minority communities in certain regions of Romania.

But what’s shocking? Is the priest supposed to face versus populum? That would be shocking, perhaps the ultimate latinization. But I’m with you. It’s all good. Whatever makes ’em happy.

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