Rorate Caeli

In need of a revolution?

I'm supposed to be on blogging recess until May 30, but the following passage in a recent speech by Bishop William Shomali of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem on the upcoming Middle Eastern Synod in Rome (October 10-24, 2010) caught my attention. I think it deserves to be discussed on this blog:

The Synod sets forth two main goals:

1 - Confirm and strengthen Christians in their identity through the Word of God and the Sacraments.

2 - Giving new life to the ecclesial communion between the sui iuris Churches so that they might provide an authentic witness of joyful and attractive Christian life.

One peculiarity of the Middle East is the large number of sui iuris Eastern Churches that have taken root here: the Melkites, Syrians, Maronites, Copts, Armenians and Chaldeans. These churches need to live their liturgical and linguistic particularity on the one hand, and a greater communion among themselves on the other. Currently, this communion leaves something to be desired. They also need pastoral and liturgical renewal. The Latin Church went through this change at the Second Vatican Council, which revolutionized its liturgy and ecclesiology and gave it a new openness to the world. The Eastern Churches are in need of a similar revolution so that they might be able to adapt and modernize and thus better meet the needs of their congregations today.


Incidentally, the Lineamenta for the upcoming Synod states that:

60. The Liturgy promises to be an area of regular collaboration between Catholics and Orthodox. Many desire a liturgical renewal which is grounded in Tradition and cognisant of modern sensitivities and current spiritual and pastoral needs. As far as possible, such work needs to be collaborative undertaking.

No one denies that the Eastern Catholic Churches are facing serious challenges, but one wonders how the move to renew these Churches will impact on the sacred liturgy.

76 comments:

John Lamont said...

Well, the Latin church was in sore need of reformation at the time of the Second Vatican council, a fact that was demonstrated by the council itself and its aftermath. The principal problem was among the clergy and religious, and was compounded of the following:

- spreading modernist disbelief among theologians and bishops, especially among theologians, who had gained a significant amount of control of Catholic theological establishments before the council

- indifference towards or even hatred of the liturgical tradition of the Church, and a wish to replace it with rituals that would suit the mediocrity, laziness, philistinism and narcissism of priests

- low intellectual standards and anti-intellectualism, that made the intellectual rigour of the scholastic tradition of the Church repugnant

- devotions that were largely emotional in their content, and that often left the actual believers among the clergy cut off from the centrality of Catholic dogma in the religious life, and unprepared to stand up in defence of that dogma

- a fostering of a notion of blind obedience in clergy and religious that produced an 'Auschwitz guard' attitude, where any crime against the faith was permissible and even obligatory if it was commanded by one's immediate superiors

- a spreading underground of homosexual and pederastic vice

- a growing refusal to accept conflict with the surrounding non-Catholic world, and a will to come to terms with it regardless of the cost.

It would not be surprising to see some of these factors present in Eastern Catholic churches today, and a reform of them would certainly be called for.

Jean said...

Oh yeah. What your car needs is to have two pistons removed, and have some nuts and bolts thrown into your carburator. You also need some suger in your gas-tank, and to have the air let out of your tires. Oh, and you might want to have your windows smashed and have someone key your paint-job.

What are these people on, LSD? Get a grip, loser!!

Anonymous said...

Are you kidding??? Renewal? Are they setting out to destroy the Eastern Rites too? This is ridiculous...So many have fled the Roman Rite to the Eastern ones just for this reason..stability.....How much upsetting of the faith does there need to be?

Anonymous said...

John Lamont,

Is that sarcasm?

The only problem with the "renewal" whas that the trouble makers you mention were given full control of it, and we go something more like the "reformation" of which St. Pius X spoke in his Encyclical on St. Charles Borromeo, some excellent quotes from which we just read here on Rorate.

Anonymous said...

"The Eastern Churches are in need of a similar revolution so that they might be able to adapt and modernize and thus better meet the needs of their congregations today."

In other words and please correct me if I am wrong, "adapt the Church to the modern world that has embraced its Preternatural Prince, Satan himself, and all the lies and aberations he promulgates.

D.P.H.

Anonymous said...

Interesting admission in their use of language, to wit, "revolutionized" the Church's liturgy.

Anonymous said...

Litniks and neo-modernists do exist within the Eastern Churches, whether the Eastern Catholic Churches or the separate Churches.

This bishop, may God pardon his foolishness and total lack of common sense, is exactly babbling the same crazy ideas that have devastated the Latin Church.

Rather than trying to latinize the Eastern Churches with the worst of Modern Catholicism, Eastern bishops should remember what Vatican II urged them to do : to keep preciously their genuine traditions, in particular their liturgies.
Can someone send a copy of Summorum Pontificum to Bp Somali plus some stats upon the neo-liturgical chaos results ?

It's amazing how deaf and blind too many Churchmen can be : 40 years of cosmic failure for the vernacular revolution is not yet enough for them to reprogram their corrupted theological softwares !

If Bp Somali was a secretary for Treasury, he would commend hiring ... Bernard Madoff. Appalling.

The n°60 of the Lineamenta is even more appalling. The prefect of the Congregation is a Sodano man, the Argentinian cardinal Sandri. That may be part of the explanation.

Alsaticus

Anonymous said...

Among other things, this Bishop says that Turkey's positive reforms include "Ataturk's 1924 policies"... of secularization and imitation of Enlightenment ideas, by, for example, inviting John Dewey to reform the education program...

The quote is:
"To Turkey's credit you could cite the secularization introduced by Ataturk in 1924"

What more evidence do we need? Liberal catholicism at its best

Giangaleazzo

A Sinner said...

Oh. Yeah. Right. THAT'S going to help relations with the Orthodox ...

What are they thinking? They need to STOP tinkering with the liturgy!

David L Alexander said...

Be honest. None of you ever keep a promise to stay on vacation. You're all slaves to your blog! BWAHAHAHAHAAAAAA!

Anonymous said...

This is absolutely disgusting. I came into the Church because in part, many recent popes have encouraged the Eastern Chruches to retain their liturgical authenticity. However, when I came in, I found that because of the identity crisis many Eastern Catholics faced when they came to United States, the took on a number of latinizations and some of the "reforms" of the Latin Rite Church post-Vatican II, i.e detaching the altar from the wall and having the priest facing the people. The Orthodox have not suffered this, although some Orthodox priests who are progressive are actively pushing for these changes, esp. use of the venacular. Recent popes have encouraged the Eastern Catholics to return to their traditions. Therefore, they shoud not engage in the innovations suggested by a "Sauruman of many colors" whether he comes from the East or the West. These "reforms" should be resisted at every instance and at every level.

Gideon Ertner said...

One wonders if His Excellence has any idea what he is talking about. But I suspect he does - he has most probably spent a long time studying in the West and drunk deep of the revolutionary Kool-aid.

If the Eastern Catholics think they can persuade the Orthodox to make the slightest change in their liturgies for any reason at all they are gravely mistaken. Anyway the logic behind is deeply flawed. The 'other faith' certainly feels no need to change its 1400-year old practices, yet it is steadily on the rise throughout the Middle East in its most fundamentalist version.

Indicating that perhaps 'fundamentalism' isn't such a bad approach after all?

Matthew Bellisario said...

As an Eastern Catholic I find this quite alarming. But we must also realize that many of the Eastern Rites have given in to using modern language in the liturgies, etc. Although the East has not had the castration of liturgy that the West has had to endure, they have had their own infighting on various liturgical issues. Hopefully the Holy Father will not let this progress to any length since he realizes the experiments of VCII on the liturgy have been a complete failure. We will have to keep a close eye on this. Thanks for the post.

Jack said...

Speaking as a very happy member of the local Melkite Church and Eastern Christian of nearly 40 years, I can assure you we are quite happy with the Divine Liturgies of St. John Chrysostom and St. Basil and the other holy services as they are celebrated now.

The only change I would recommend is adding "and in the vastness of the heavens" or similar phrase to the petition for travelers. The space station doesn't travel by air.

Our only concern is to make the translations into English as accurate as possible: "essence" for "ousia," Theotokos where appropriate instead of Mother of God, and the like.

And NEVER have we said, "And also with you."

As the late Abp. Joseph Tawil of Newton said, we should always exercise the courage to be ourselves.

Adeodatus said...

Great... here come the puppet shows and the altar girls.

Anonymous said...

Do they ever stop to think the congregations as a whole do NOT need this..What they need is stability and tradition? Did was the same excuse they used with the Latin Rite and millions responded to the uneeded changes with their feet..

Anonymous said...

It was only a matter of time...

Anonymous said...

The only problem with the Eastern churches at present lies in the extent to which they have already enacted or allowed reforms that mirror those of the Novus Ordo sing-along get-together. For example, the Maronites are now offering Mass versus populum in the Western (but not Eastern) Hemisphere, and the current approved English version of the Ukrainian Mass is in non-sacral English and is therefore worthy of deposit in a land-fill site.

What the Eastern churches need is a retrenchment of their traditional practices and zero changes for a period of about fifty years. You don't tinker during a period of revolution unless you're mad or else a revolutionary (and these are the same). If you do, the revolution takes over the process of reform. But we know that now, don't we?

It is important that any period of reform be animated by sound principles, and these proceed from a sound culture, not from a rock 'n roll counter-culture of bad ideas and a hatred for the beautiful and the good. Our priesthood is presently full of Modernists, liberals and sexual inverts. Who would ensure that the right sort of changes be made? A wise man will stay the course and wait for a better time. Let's see if the Eastern churches can learn from recent history.

Some people have an itch for change. Oh, says the prideful man, I can improve on this outdates and antiquated liturgy! I'll show them how to do it!

I prefer the wisdom of our ancestors to the folly of the nincompoops in this present age.

P.K.T.P.

Anonymous said...

Dear Adeodatus:

Don't worry: the idea won't fly. They may have a few nincompoops among their clergy but most of them are smart enough to see a disaster and avoid it.

I note two recent decisions of the Greek Orthodox Bishops:

1. To keep the liturgy in Hellenistic rather than modern Greek and

2. To keep the very repetitious readings in their propers.

Their instincts are excellent.

P.K.T.P.

David L Alexander said...

Peter:

I used to attend the Ukrainian liturgy on occasion, and I do not remember "non-sacral" English. Indeed, their practices tended to be more traditional than the Ruthenians, at least in the States. When did the Ukrainians revise their vernacular texts?

Anonymous said...

"and the current approved English version of the Ukrainian Mass is in non-sacral English and is therefore worthy of deposit in a land-fill site."

PKTP.
"non-sacral English"
Give me a break. There is no such thing as sacral English. I know people want to pretend, but the entire concept is idiotic at best.

And anonymous at 16:36.
"detaching the altar from the wall and having the priest facing the people."

What are you talking about. Free standing alters are common in the East and have been throughout history. Versus populum is not common and would be considered a very serious abuse in any of the Byzantine churches. (I don't know about the Maronites, Coptic, etc.)

Anonymous said...

The aping of Novus Ordo liturgical mutations has already occurred in many Eastern Rite parishes to greater or lesser degrees but this new overt project is alarming. It should be said though that the custom of the celebrant facing the people is specified in the rubrics of the most ancient liturgy, that of the Apostle James the Brother of the Lord. In Greece an altar is set up in front of the iconostasis specifically when this liturgy is served (usually twice a year.) The Russians use the permanent altar in the sanctuary. It would be interesting to learn whether the Versus Populum practice originated in this ancient custom.

Anonymous said...

Some idiot wrote,

""non-sacral English"
Give me a break. There is no such thing as sacral English. I know people want to pretend, but the entire concept is idiotic at best."


Liturgical English is a distinct form of the language which has its own history; it is much like poetical English. It was used in most Catholic devotionals until about the mid 1950s and in many through to about 1970 (esp. for the spiritual acts, such as the Act of Hope).

It is completely improper not to use it for formal worship. It was used in the official English translation of the Ukrainian Byzantine Rite of 1958 but not the recent one.

Only a complete ignoramus could deny the existence of sacral or liturgical English. But, then, we have plenty of those around these days.

P.K.T.P.

Anonymous said...

On David Alexander's comment:

Yes, you are absolutely correct that the Ukrainians are far more traditional than are the Ruthenians. I've even heard that the Ruthenians now have some new concocted Eucharistic Prayer, although I've not been able to confirm that. There are not Ruthenian jurisdicitons in Canada but I wonder if Americans on this blog could comment.

Some Ukrainian priest still use the English translation of 1958 in sacral English, but it has been superseded. I don't know the date of publication of the current one but the last Ukrainian Bishop in B.C. ordered its use.

P.K.T.P.

Anonymous said...

I note that revolution and tradition are completely incompatible concepts, and that the Church is traditional by nature, cherishing that which has been handed on. The Deposit of Faith, once given, is itself handed on.

So what's this moron talking about in the quotation when he calls for a revolution in the Eastern churches?

P.K.T.P.

Jean said...

My guess on authorizing the Versus Populum practice, is that it could have been introduced to permit celebrating ad orientem in churches facing the west, like Saint-Peter in Rome, and thus meant to be very exceptionnal.

I mean, in the head of a very very naive guy...

Anonymous said...

If you want to see an example of this sort of rot go to a Maronite Parish for Mass. It has guitar strumming wailing and people facing altars. Just banal. There religious sisters wear little trivial veils with the fringe sticking out. Theologically they are often tainted neo liberals. Just like all those Syrio-Malabar priests who are flooding the Roman rite polluting their own with liberal expectations.So many priests fleeing their own rites where they should stay!

David L Alexander said...

Peter:

I attend a Ruthenian church on occasion (you have a Slovak Byzantine jurisdiction in Canada; separate, but roughly the same thing), and I subscribe to the diocesan paper. There was a new translation introduced a couple years ago, but nothing on the order that happened to the Roman Rite in 1969/1970. I know nothing of an anaphora other than those of John Chrysostom, Basil the Great and St James, maybe. Also, I believe that Canadian Ukrainian Catholics are a separate jurisdiction from the Archeparchy of Philadelphia, so it is possible that a new translation is not used in the States.

(By the way, Maronites in the States do celebrate the liturgy "versus populum," and both they and the Ethiopians (Ge'ez Rite) use some ICEL texts. Don't ask me why.

Paul Haley said...

If the eastern church is in need of a revolution, I submit it is a return to Holy Tradition and not a departure from it.

The problem, dear friends, is the hierarchy is infected with modernists who believe the "new springtime" has arrived with the concessions the Church has made to the modern world.

Only when His Holiness decides to insist on a return to Holy Tradition and does so with vim and vigor, dispatching the modernists who obstruct his initiatives, will the "true revolution" begin. That day, sadly, appears far too distant for us to benefit.

Joe B said...

I agree with some comments I read somewhere that the Traditionalist movement is the genuine fulfillment of the authentic call for reform of the Second Vatican Council. Better Catechism, some vernacular (reading of the Gospel and Epistle in the vernacular) with Latin retaining pride of place, a deeper appreciation of and participation in the Liturgy, etc. So if one could model a "reform" along those lines instead of revolutionary ones, one would, I think, improve things quite a bit. But, as with the Obama presidency, at some point the purpose behind the Second Vatican Council became not to reform but to replace, and nobody is qualified to do that to ancient holy traditions.

reoriented said...

1. Those Orthodox - mostly in 'the old country' - who, by the grace of God, are uninfected by liberalism in forms like those manifested by the good bishop in question, therefore avoid Catholics like the plague.

2. On the other hand, if they are fortunate to have to study Catholicism, which one does best with a teacher, they are sometimes surprised by what they discover.

3. If Catholics would learn the Faith well enough to teach them in orthodox terms they can understand, Catholics might be surprised, too -- not least by what they learn about [o]rthodox Christianity.

4. The real Orthodox would rather drink bleach by the gallons than tinker with the liturgy, least of all by translating it for public use in a vernacular tongue.

5. That is one reason why Pope Benedict is extending the Roman Church's hand in friendship to (some of) the Orthodox, as if in the hope that their allergy to modernism might infect Catholics.

6. Another reason is that the monasticism still practiced in Orthodox monasteries by and large continues to cure men of fallen nature, which (after all) is the reason or purpose of Christianity.

7. That (roughly) also accounts for Benedict XVI's emphasis in teaching on the importance of traditional monastic life for every Christian.

Anonymous said...

I think that every Eastern Catholic jurisdiction is now using vernacular language, often in poor, everyday-style translation. And they think it is the traditional and correct way, because people won't understand the liturgy if it was in sacral language etc. etc.

So far only the Greek Orthodox are proven to be immune to the vernacular disease. But how long will they stand?

Once you concede to the vernacular lunatics it's impossible to go back.

Anonymous said...

The only renewal those before , during and since the second Vatican council nedd to believe strongly , have great zeal in witnessing and believe in their hearts that those outside the church are on the road to Hell unless i get to them. If the Eastern Catholics tamper with their liturgy another disaster for the church will occur!!!

Jack said...

I could make comments on other people's remarks, some of which were totally inaccurate, but I will limit myself to this one:

\\What are you talking about. Free standing alters are common in the East and have been throughout history. Versus populum is not common and would be considered a very serious abuse in any of the Byzantine churches. (I don't know about the Maronites, Coptic, etc.)\\

There is one, but ONLY one place in the Orthodox world where the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom is celebrated versus populum.

This is in the Anastasis (Chapel of the Resurrection) at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

There is a theological reason for this practice there, but there only. The Eucharistic Sacrifice is the proclamation par excellence of the Resurrection of Christ.

Alexander said...

P.K.T.P. et al

first of all there is no sacral English language, you might consider Cranmer's and latter the KJB poetic protestant (emphasis on protestant) Early Modern English http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_Modern_English to be a sacral language but i certainly do not.

The Douay-Rheims was, amazingly, written for the language the audience spoke at the time not with the language spoken in England 300-400 years prior (which would of been unintelligible to them.)

Modern English has lost the formal/plural personal pronouns so why reproduce them now? Why not just go back to Middle English, or perhaps the pre-Norman Invasion Old English/Anglo-Saxon - English in it's purest form? Well, not actually thanks to the Norse raids there are some non-"native" words in the lexicon, so actually let's go back before the Angles, Saxons Jutes and the rest of those Germans came to Britain on go back to Common Brythonic, but nobody knows how it is spoken, so lets use Breton because it is logically closest since the Bretons were colonists from Britain in ancient times. Would revive the dying language and it probably sounds cool so win-win for a sacral language.

Current Ukrainian translation is not garbage, but that's okay insult and react at will to anything that is post 1957, I don't care.

And finally nobody here has apparently seen (unsurprisingly) the liturgies celebrated by the Patriarchate, they are among the most beautiful in the Roman Rite world, those Arabs certainly know their Gregorian chant.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Alexander:

The Slovakian Eparchy of Toronto, covering all of Canada, is not part of the Ruthenian Church sui juris. The Slovak Church consists of the Eparchy of Presov, in Slovakia, the Eparchy of Toronto, and a junior jurisidction in the Czech Republic (to my recollection on the last point).

The Ruthenian Province of four eparchies in the U.S.A. is united to the Eparchy of Mukachevo in the Carpathian Mts., in the Ukraine. (Note that 'the Ukraine' always requires the definite article in English: it is totally wrong to omit it.)

So I don't know the details about the Ruthenians. What I've heard from the States is that they have put in some alternate anaphora which is a novelty. Does anyone know more about this?

I've also heard that they are far more liberal than is the Ukrainian Byzantine Church.

P.K.T.P.

Anonymous said...

Alexander wrote:

"first of all there is no sacral English language, you might consider Cranmer's and latter the KJB poetic protestant (emphasis on protestant) Early Modern English http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_Modern_English to be a sacral language but i certainly do not."

No, this is totally wrong. I cannot believe than anyone would actually write this on a blog. There is a very expert article on this subject in Studia Linguistica by Kathleen someone-or-other. I could dig it up. I used to cite it all the time.

There most certainly is a sacral or liturgical English specialised use and it is NOT and NEVER WAS confined to Anglicanism but can be found in every Catholic devotional up to about 1960 and in many beyond then.

There is also a poetical English usage which also retained the T. personal pronouns (and they are singular and not plural in Middle English). This was the normal form for poetry as late as about 1910 and has been retained since then in informal unpublished poems (e.g. of lovers at university). It was pushed out by the poetry of the common man in the Twentieth Century. Read Keats. Where have you been?

There is also a Biblical usage that includes these pronouns. I note that liturgical English and Biblical English both use them but use them differently. The reasons for this are quite complicated. I have explained them at length on Fr. Z.'s site. Without getting into details, Biblical English comes from Wycliffe's attempt in 1381 to use a form that was OUTDATED in his own time. He needed something more formal to replace Latin. Later translations (e.g. Douay and King James) followed this.

Lastly, there is a dialectal form of those pronoums that is a specialised usage in parts of Yorkshire. it is now obsolescent but not obsolete.

I grew up using liturgical English for all prayers and I address God and Thou in private prayers composed by me and not only in memorised formulaic prayers. This is the way it was done until the the time of the Aquarian Revolution. It would be completely unnatural for me to call our Lady 'you' even in informal ex tempore prayer.

All the devotionals I own use liturgical English. There is nothing archaic about it except in general use. Where did you get these wild ideas? Liturgical English is mentioned in the O.E.D. and elsewhere.

As last as 1965, most handmissals still have the spiritual acts in sacral English, and not only the English Pater and Ave.

P.K.T.P.

Anonymous said...

Alexander wrote this:

"Modern English has lost the formal/plural personal pronouns so why reproduce them now? Why not just go back to Middle English, or perhaps the pre-Norman Invasion Old English/Anglo-Saxon - English in it's purest form? Well, not actually thanks to the Norse raids there are some non-"native" words in the lexicon, so actually let's go back before the Angles, Saxons Jutes and the rest of those Germans came to Britain on go back to Common Brythonic, but nobody knows how it is spoken, so lets use Breton because it is logically closest since the Bretons were colonists from Britain in ancient times. Would revive the dying language and it probably sounds cool so win-win for a sacral language."

You're kidding, right? You must be joking. And, no, the D.R. was not written in accordance with the usage of the time; it was following a tradition from 1381 which, in turn, was a deliberate throwback to about 1200.

P.K.T.P.

David L Alexander said...

There IS such a thing as "sacral language." Granted, it has diluted somewhat in English, as we don't have the familiar/unfamiliar sense as do other languages. But there still exists a convention for formality that exists, say, in the courtroom, as opposed to the street or the ballpark.

Jordanes said...

The Douay-Rheims was, amazingly, written for the language the audience spoke at the time not with the language spoken in England 300-400 years prior (which would of been unintelligible to them.)

Sorry, but you simply have no idea what you're talking about. In History of the English Language class that I took at university about 15 years ago, we were shown that the language of the Douay Rheims, like the language of the King James and the language of all English-language Bibles going back to Wycliffe, were certainly not written in the language the readers spoke at the time of translation. Rather, they adhered to a conscious archaism founded in large part on the tradition of English Bible translation. The language of the DR and KJV was a few decades "out-of-date," and deliberately so.

Listen to Mr. Perkins on this point. He's absolutely correct, and you could hardly be more wrong. We should no more credit the expertise of someone who claims there is no such thing as sacral English than we should someone who claims the sun rises in the west.

David L Alexander said...

Peter:

Thank you for clarifying the differences between the Slovak jurisdiction in Canada and the Ruthenians in the USA. As to the latter being "far more liberal," I suppose it's a relative thing, but in my experience, the Ruthenian church in the USA has managed to hold fast to tradition, and in fact the traditional Slavic language, contrary to what some may say here, co-exists well with the vernacular.

Anonymous said...

PTKP WROTE: "Yes, you are absolutely correct that the Ukrainians are far more traditional than are the Ruthenians. I've even heard that the Ruthenians now have some new concocted Eucharistic Prayer, although I've not been able to confirm that. There are not Ruthenian jurisdicitons in Canada but I wonder if Americans on this blog could comment."


I attend four different parishes for worship: a Ruthenian parish, a Melkite parish, a Maronite parish, and a Roman Rite parish that uses the 1962 missal exclusively.

So far, we don't have any new anaphora at the Ruthenian parish, although the Divine Liturgy, as well as the tones, have been changed somewhat, and not always for the better.

The Melkite parish has introduced the "Sign of Peace" and female lectors.

The Maronite parish has a musical instrument that is like an electronic something or other. I don't care much for it, but my opinion doesn't go very far.

The former pastor, however, is extremely devout, actually uses the phrase "mortal sin" (can you believe it?)and consecrates the elements in the most moving manner I have ever seen in my life as a Catholic (sixth decade). Unfortunately, he was transferred.

I once saw a nun distributing Holy Communion at a Ruthenian parish around the corner from my former Ruthenian parish in Ohio.

David L Alexander said...

"The Melkite parish has introduced the 'Sign of Peace' and female lectors."

I won't speak to the specific example you have seen, but to the Byzantine Rite in particular. First of all, remember, this isn't the Roman Rite. In some Orthodox Churches (most of which use the Liturgy of John Chrysostom/Basil the Great), the faithful exchange the Kiss of Peace amongst themselves, as the clergy do the same between themselves. In its proper appearance, it's more like the "holy kiss" described in the Epistles, as well as what we see passed among the clergy at a Solemn High Mass.

As to the use of female lectors, yes, that's a recent innovation in some parishes. The preference is for a minor cleric who is a tonsured reader (and some parishes have them), but under no circumstances are females permitted within the sanctuary. The readings are not done from there anyway.

Carlos Antonio Palad said...

"So far only the Greek Orthodox are proven to be immune to the vernacular disease. But how long will they stand?"

In recent weeks, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokalamsk has publicly spoken at least twice AGAINST the translation of the liturgy into Russian, and in defense of the continued use of Church Slavonic. He also gave a speech praising the growing trend in Russia to re-adopt some pre-1650 artistic and liturgical traditions.

I am working on an article on this development, to be published upon the end of my "recess".

Anonymous said...

Sacral English Prayers, Part II:

Prayer to the Holy Ghost:

Come, Holy Ghost, fill the hearts of Thy faithful, and enkindle in them the fire of Thy love ....

Regina Cœli:

Queen of Heaven, rejoice! Alleluia! For He Whom thou wast worthy to bear, Alleluia! Hath risen as He said! Alleluia!

Closing Rosary prayer which everyone, without exception is required to use at the end of the Rosary:

O My God, Whose only-begotten Son, by His life, death, and Resurrection, hath purchased for us the rewards of eternal life, grant, we beseech Thee, that, meditating upon these mysteries of the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, ....

Devotions to the Holy Wounds ....

Psalter of Jesus ....

The Crown of Twelve Stars of our Lady ....

The Clock of the Passion ....

The Holy Face Devotions: Arise, O Lord, and let Thine enemies be scattered, and let them that hate Thee fly before Thy face ....

Need I go on? None of them are Anglican! (Heaven forbid!)

P.K.T.P.

Anonymous said...

As I wrote in another post, one cause of confusion is that there are two relgious forms of English that use specialised sacral English and they use the T. forms of the pronouns differently. It would take me a lot of typing to explain why this is so.

Really, we should, therefore, speak of Biblical English and liturgical English. In liturgical English, the T. forms are respect pronouns and NOT affective:

Our Father, Who art in Heaven, Hallowed by Thy Name, Thy Kingdom come ....

In Biblical English, they are affective forms used to speak *down* to someone:

And Jesus said to the Good Thief:

Verily I say unto thee that today thou shalt be with Me in Paradise.


This causes a great deal of confusion because, at the lections (Gospel and Epistle) we have Biblical uses of the T. pronouns but elewhere in the liturgy and in formal prayer, T. form are used to speak up to a superior. Hence, in the Anglican Mass, the people say to the priest: And with thy spirit. In pre-1960 translations of the Roman Mass in handmissals, we have the very same thing.

Why this huge difference? Well, I don't know where to begin. Originally, the T. forms were universal in the singular nunber and the Y forms came from the plural number. Over time, and in emulation of French, the T. forms came to be affective, used for speaking to equals or inferiors (and this is alsoo the case in the dialects of parts of Yorkshire to this day).

But Wycliffe in 1381 reverted to the T. forms throughout to make for a more formal English which was, in *his* time (1381) archaic. This began the development of the Biblical English. It's a long story and it gets twisted along the way.

Sciolists will sometimes tell you that liturical English matches the German du and, in our formal prayer, the T. forms are affective. THIS IS NOT CORRECT for liturgical English but correct for Biblical English. In liturgical English, they are pronouns of profound respect (like the French vous, not the German du) and not of affection. Remember, English is not just some West Germanic language but has also been profoundly affected by Norman French (and by Latin).

Am I the only one here who memorised all the old prayers in liturgical English?:

Act of Hope:

Oh my God, I hope to obtain pardon of my sins, the help of Thy grace and life everlasting ...

More to come in Part II

Anonymous said...

David Alexander on the Sign of Peace:

In my local Ukrainian parish, there was no Pax among the people but then some rotten guest liberal priest came and asked us to do it. Naturally, I folded my arms across the chest and refused. There gladhanding and not giving the formal kiss to each cheek. There is no 'tradition' of gladhanding in the Eastern churches and, as Glenn Gould once remarked, "Shaking hands is extremely unhygenic". Frankly, I favoru the Oriental practice of bowing. We should all use it instead of shaking hands.

P.K.T.P.

Louis E. said...

Note to P.K.T.P. et al:

It is a matter of specific sensitivity to Ukrainian nationalists that the definite article not be used in referring to their country in English,as its use connotes describing their country as a border region of Russia rather than independent.

Jack said...

A comment about so-called "sacral English".

I was brought up on the King James Bible, and later, the 1928 American Book of Common Prayer, which uses similar diction.

So I'm familiar with it. But not all Americans are.

Unless one can handle this style with all the grace of these two monuments, and yes, the grace of the Douay-Rheims Bible as well, don't do it! I've seen too many poor imitations, complete with such barbarisms as "Thee sees," "Thee knows", and the like.

Next, the average Eastern parish (whether Catholic or Orthodox) is filled with people for whom English is a second--or third or more--language.

As beautiful as Tudor English might be to some of us (including myself), it is not pastoral, prudent, or even just to throw linguistic stumbling blocks at their feet in the holy services.

Whatever the diction and style, if the Church uses it in her worship, by that very use it become sacral, sacred, and liturgical.

Anonymous said...

"In recent weeks, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokalamsk has publicly spoken at least twice AGAINST the translation of the liturgy into Russian, and in defense of the continued use of Church Slavonic."

IN RUSSIA. But what about Russian Orthodox parishes in non-Slavic countries, particularly in the USA?

Anonymous said...

Jesus used his native language during the Last Supper!

Jack said...

\\IN RUSSIA. But what about Russian Orthodox parishes in non-Slavic countries, particularly in the USA?\\

There is an official English translation of the Divine Liturgy used by Patriarchal Parishes Vicariate in the USA.

It as some of the barbarisms I referred to earlier.

In the late 19th Century, official liturgical books were issued for non-Slavic mission areas within the Russian Empire by the authority of the Holy Synod.

There are also parishes and monasteries of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (now in communion with the Moscow Patriarchate) that use English as a matter of course.

There was actually consideration given to going to modern Russian at the All-Russian Council of 1917-1918 that restored the Patriarchate, but subsequent developments prevented it.

The only churches that use Slavonic as a matter of course are the the Russian Orthodox Church and oddly enough, the Ruthenian Catholics.

The Serbian and Bulgarian churches are moving to their vernaculars.

David L Alexander said...

"Jesus used his native language during the Last Supper!"

You should know. You were there.

(Sorry, I was kidding. Too hard to resist that one.)

But seriously, while Aramaic may have been used in everyday life, the Jews of that part of the world during that time prayed in Hebrew. They still do today.

We've been talking about the use of language in Eastern Rite worship. One consistent attitude I've found at Eastern churches, whether Catholic or Orthodox, is that the traditional and vernacular languages are more likely to co-exist peacefully in worship, unlike in the Roman Rite, where we have this either/or mentality. Either we totally use one, or we totally use the other. That doesn't seem to be the attitude in Eastern churches.

(Note to Peter: You'll notice I never used the words "handshaking" or "gladhanding." I was not describing either. God forbid that they introduce either to Eastern worship.)

Anonymous said...

Article by Kathleen Wales concerning the use of "thou" in conversational and liturgical English.

http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/119544052/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0

Anonymous said...

One commenter noted that he grew up with the 1928 book of common prayer but that not all have so done, and therefore it would be imprudent to cast such a stumbling block at their feet. I note only that he grew up with it; therefore, it would take only one generation -- the youngest generation -- for familiarity to take hold were such language introduced in universal usage. The Church grows not primarily through conversions but through those raised in it. If their parents could be persuaded to stick around long enough to raise their kids, I don't think that the reintroduction of sacral English would be such a problem.

Carlos Antonio Palad said...

"That is one reason why Pope Benedict is extending the Roman Church's hand in friendship to (some of) the Orthodox, as if in the hope that their allergy to modernism might infect Catholics."

This cuts both ways. It seems that many Orthodox fear that if they reunite with Rome, it is Catholics who will infect them with modernism. To our shame, there is some truth to this. One remembers the attempt of the Neo-Catechumenal Way to "teach" their "system of evangelization" to the Russian Orthodox Church a few years ago -- fortunately, the Moscow Patriarchate gave them a loud NO (even describing the NCW as "a very contradictory organization"), and Kiko Arguello had to apologize, and retract his previous announcement that the Russians had formed an agreement with his group.

This having been noted, I am profoundly uneasy with the rhetoric -- to be heard in certain conservative quarters in the Catholic Church -- to the effect that the Catholic Church "needs" the Orthodox Church to come to its rescue. (I am not saying that 'reoriented' is making this assertion -- however, his remarks do remind me of those who have made this assertion.)

My admiration for the Orthodox sense of liturgy and monastic asceticism is deep -- however, if we are to be consistent in our Catholicism, should we not point out that these riches are but the heritage of the time when the Christian East was in communion with Rome?

Should we not confess that between the True Church and a schismatic Church, it is the latter that must seek to reunite with the former, and not the former seeking "strength" from the latter? The notion that a schismatic Church must come to the rescue of the True Church is absurd at best.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in the NO and was/am absolutely delighted to use the 1925 prayer book, 'Blessed Be God' and also the 'Rocalta'. No problem switching. The DR Bible is tougher but I get the Catholic sense from it - which I might add is not there is many so called approved versions including prayer books.

Blessed Ember Wednesday,
- Jerry, TOSF

had no problem using the

Samer said...

Over time, and in emulation of French, the T. forms came to be affective, used for speaking to equals or inferiors (and this is alsoo the case in the dialects of parts of Yorkshire to this day).

South Yorkshire according to this bloke taking us on a really fun romp through the regional dialects of the Isles (see 2:15).

Jack said...

I would like to clarify something that was apparently missed.

Someone said:

||One commenter noted that he grew up with the 1928 book of common prayer but that not all have so done, and therefore it would be imprudent to cast such a stumbling block at their feet. I note only that he grew up with it; therefore, it would take only one generation -- the youngest generation -- for familiarity to take hold were such language introduced in universal usage.||

The stumbling blocks I was referring to should not be cast at the feet of those for whom English is NOT a mother tongue, which is the case for many in Eastern Churches: Catholic, Orthodox, and non-Chalcedonian.

That is why it is probably more prudent to use a contemporary English idiom in Eastern churches, rather than Tudor English.

Anonymous said...

"That is why it is probably more prudent to use a contemporary English idiom in Eastern churches, rather than Tudor English."

Brilliant idea! Let's translate the Divine Liturgy into slang, especially for bad neighborhoods!

Anonymous said...

I can't imagine where anyone would get the idea that the Ruthenians in the US have introduced a new anaphora. The two Divine Liturgies are those of St. John Chrysostom:

http://www.patronagechurch.com/Liturgicon_2006/Chrysostom/C-DL_2006.pdf

and of St. Basil the Great:

http://www.patronagechurch.com/Liturgicon_2006/Basil/Basil%20text%20-%20Liturgy%202006.pdf[/url]

Michael R.

Anonymous said...

David L Alexander said

I won't speak to the specific example you have seen, but to the Byzantine Rite in particular. First of all, remember, this isn't the Roman Rite. In some Orthodox Churches (most of which use the Liturgy of John Chrysostom/Basil the Great), the faithful exchange the Kiss of Peace amongst themselves, as the clergy do the same between themselves. In its proper appearance, it's more like the "holy kiss" described in the Epistles, as well as what we see passed among the clergy at a Solemn High Mass.

As to the use of female lectors, yes, that's a recent innovation in some parishes. The preference is for a minor cleric who is a tonsured reader (and some parishes have them), but under no circumstances are females permitted within the sanctuary. The readings are not done from there anyway.


Except for my earliest years, I have attended Ruthenian and Melkite parishes all my life, and in different areas of the country. My children grew up in Byzantine parishes.

I have never seen the "sign of peace" offered by the faithful to each other in an Eastern Catholic milieu except in a Maronite context in and my former Melkite parish, and that happened only after the old pastor retired and a younger one came in. That's also when female lectors showed up there as well.

The parish is over 50 years old; the female lectors have been occurring for the last decade or so.

Female lectors were not a recent innovation for my Ruthenian parish back home; we had one as early as 1981.

David L Alexander said...

"I have never seen the 'sign of peace' offered by the faithful to each other in an Eastern Catholic milieu ..."

Among the faithful, neither have I. (If you never saw clerics do it, either the royal doors were closed, or you weren't paying attention.) But I did see it in a Russian Orthodox church (OCA) on several occasions, and it is not out of place for them. And once again, it bore no resemblance to the glad-handing that occurs in Roman Rite parishes.

Anonymous said...

Dear Louis E.:

That indeed is the Ukrainian argument but what is shows is their complete lack of respect for the English tongue, for that is NOT what the definite article suggests at all. It is used if the name of the country translates to a descriptive name. Hence the Philippines, the Congo, the Sudan, the Netherlands.

They have no right to touch the English tongue. It is not a plaything for nationalists and their concerns, especially when they misconceive usage.

It is true that, over a long period of time, custom can change proper use of the definite article. Hence Lebanon was once called 'the Lebanon'. Also, it is customary to drop the article in lists of countries.

Some Ukrainian nationalists are doing to English what the femnazis have done to it in order to import their concerns and break structure and customs.

One way around the problem is to change the ending to an -a ending. Hence the Argentine can also be called Argentina. The Ukraine was once sometimes once called 'Ukrainia' but this has been rejected. If it ends in the -e, it is The Ukraine. The more they dislike this, the more I'll insist on using it.

'Ukraine' means 'the borderlands' in Ukrainian itself. If they don't like that, that's fine with me. I would never dare to suggest changing Ukrainian to suit some agenda of my own; nor should they dare to do the same thing with English.

(By the way, this is not hostility to Ukrainians: I love Ukrainians and have many friends over there from my years at their Mass. But they don't get to change English.)

P.K.T.P.

Anonymous said...

Jack:

I don't see your point about sacral English.

First of all, the 1958 Ukrainian approved translation into sacral English was beautiful and completely natural. Nobody had problems with it. It was replaced because liberals in the Ukrainian Church caught the same disease as their Latin counterparts. It's called liberalism, a disease worse than tuberculosis or bubonic plague.

Should Ukrainians play with sacral English in formulating personal prayers? Most of them will pray in Ukrainian anyway; a few might be sensitive enough to use Church Slavonic. Those who adopt English as a first language can memorise the prayers in sacral English. Not a problem. As for composing prayers in sacral English, I do it naturally and without thinking. Those who cannot might do otherwise. That's their business. But it is hardly a problem in the case of standardised prayers read from a Missal or memorised.

What I would find really unnatural and bizarre is to call God or our Lady 'You' at any time. That would make me extremely uncomfortable; I would even find that it borders on blasphemy or extreme disprespect. I hope you're not suggesting that I should force myself to do this.

I find the examples you give of incorrect sacral English to be far-fetched and likely rare. Sacral English conveys reverence; non-sacral does just the opposite. Some might be satisfied with 'Where you will go, I will go'. Others see the value in saying, "Whither thou goest, I will go". Get the point?

P.K.T.P.

P.K.T.P.

P.K.T.P.

Anonymous said...

Someone wrote:

"Jesus used his native language during the Last Supper!"

No, He probably did not. It was a passover meal, a berakh, and the prayers were probably in Hebrew. Whether He used Hebrew or Aramaic for the Institution of the New Sacrifice we shall likely never know.

Jesus Christ, like all rabbis, would have used Hebrew in the Temple for all prayers. Hebrew was a language not understood by the people. Christ told us, "Follow Me". Therefore, we must obey and say our communal prayers also in a language not understanded by the people!

P.K.T.P.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Alexander:

In the case reported by me, the Ukrainian Byzantine priest asked the parishioners to shake hands with one another and told us that this was traditional. It was not a case of the kiss of peace among clerics.

P.K.T.P.

Anonymous said...

Someone wrote:

"The stumbling blocks I was referring to should not be cast at the feet of those for whom English is NOT a mother tongue, which is the case for many in Eastern Churches: Catholic, Orthodox, and non-Chalcedonian."

There simply is not stumbling block. When I first attended the Ukr. Byz. parish here, the Divine Liturgy was offered at one time in modern Ukrainian and at another in sacral English (1958 translation). Nobody had any problem with the latter and it was natural for everyone. Then the Bishop insisted switching to a modernised non-sacral new approved translation. The resuilt is that it sucked a good deal of the reverence right out of the Mass. Suddenly, Our Lady is 'hey you'. Only a barbarian could prefer that, one who has no sense of tradition.

P.K.T.P.

Anonymous said...

Some called sacral English 'Tudor English'. This is a totally false ascription. Liturgical Engish is a LIVING specialised form of the language. In its specialised use, it is not archaic and certainly not Tudor. It is the way people have prayed in English up to 1960 and the way traditionalists continue to pray in English. It is not obsolte and I pray that it is not obsolescent either.

This form of English was used for most poetry until about 1910 as well, even though it was not used in everyday speech for many decades before them. Nobody thought that Keats was unnatural in using it. Everyone understood that it was a specialised poetical translation.

There is some film about Mr. Chips or something (forgot the complete title). At one point, the Latin teacher tells the boy to translate the Latin poetry into poetical rather than common English. I guess he was totally wrong! Not!

Why do I get the feeling sometimes that I am explaining the obvious over and over again to people who do not know the first thing about this subject?

P.K.T.P.

Anonymous said...

One further comment:

We use Latin and sacral English in formal prayer--specialised forms--for the same reason we used elevated and special forms of architecture, imagery, and music in formal worship. I wonder what that reason could be? Overschooled and undereducated newcomers get three guesses.

Of course, there are those who actually support the dumbing down of the good and the beautiful. But they are supposed to be on the other side.

P.K.T.P.

David L Alexander said...

"Why do I get the feeling sometimes that I am explaining the obvious over and over again to people who do not know the first thing about this subject?"

Two reasons:

1) Most people who read in this medium enough, without serious reading elsewhere, tend to have very short attention spans. The medium lends itself to that habit, unfortunately.

2) You don't have your own blog. Then you'd only have to explain things once. If you've got time for the marathon of comments like this one, you've got time for a blog.

I'd probably read it every day.

Jack said...

**"That is why it is probably more prudent to use a contemporary English idiom in Eastern churches, rather than Tudor English."

Brilliant idea! Let's translate the Divine Liturgy into slang, especially for bad neighborhoods!**

Apparently, you don't understand the difference between contemporary English (such as is used in the Jerusalem, New Jerusalem, New International Version, New King James, and New American Bibles) on the one hand and slang on the other.

I'm sorry you so totally missed my point.

Jack said...

\\I find the examples you give of incorrect sacral English to be far-fetched and likely rare. \\

Alas, this is NOT rare. I've seen it happen all too often.

A certain Orthodox jurisdiction, which shall remain unidentified here, tried publishing its first official version of the Liturgy, with Thee/Thou (second person singular pronouns) paired with MODERN third person verbs (has, does, gives et al).

Fortunately, it was sent to a Lutheran publishing house to be printed. The typsetter, who knew better, corrected the verbs, tactfully saying that there were "a few errors" that slipped by the proofreader.

I have also seen the pronoun/verb mismatch in style and number in the publications of other Orthodox jurisdictions.

Then there was one that insisted on using "ye" as the second person singular, regardless of the case. (FWIW, "ye" is nominative; "you" is actually objective if you're going to follow this diction.)

As far as the term "Tudor English," this term was used by an eminent Orthodox theologian and translator, Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware). If it's good enough for him, it's good enough for me.

He also said that if he and the late Mother Mary had to do it all over again, they would do their liturgical translations in contemporary English--which, again, does NOT mean "slang."

Anonymous said...

David L Alexander said, re "the sign of peace"...

Among the faithful, neither have I. (If you never saw clerics do it, either the royal doors were closed, or you weren't paying attention.)

I wasn't speaking about the kiss of peace exchanged between clerics. I've been seeing that since probably before most people who post here were born.

I was talking about the "sign of peace," so-called, among the laity as that has been practiced after the Second Vatican Council.

Of course, a nun distributing Holy Communion is quite out of sync with Byzantine Catholicism, yet I witnessed that very thing over a quarter of a century ago. The parish accepted it as if it were normal.

Jack said...

\\Of course, a nun distributing Holy Communion is quite out of sync with Byzantine Catholicism, yet I witnessed that very thing over a quarter of a century ago. The parish accepted it as if it were normal.\\

At one time, there was an attitude--never officially sanctioned, but widely propagated that the Roman Rite was the ideal and standard, and the more an Eastern rite resembled it, the more perfect it was.

So different Eastern Churches began introducing Latin practices (or better, imitations of Latin practices), even if these contravened their traditional praxis and even spiritual patrimony.

The Byzantine Catholics (sometimes called Ruthenians) in America were very much into this metooism. Some priests even tried celebrating versus populum after Vatican 2.

Fortunately, these deformations are being surely, if slowly, eliminated as Eastern Catholics realize it's perfectly all right to be different, or as the late Abp. Joseph Tawil put it, regain "the courage to be ourselves.

Jack said...

Further comment about this remark:

\\I find the examples you give of incorrect sacral English to be far-fetched and likely rare. \\

Just today I was the first time on a site giving Byzantine Liturgical texts in Tudor English.

Guess what?

This site make the SAME kinds of mistakes as I described earlier.

I wish you were right in your claim that these errors are far-fetched and rare, but they are NOT.

Alas, they are all too common.