Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Ecumenical Import of the TLM

If you are interested in either the ecumenical movement or the Traditional Latin Mass you might find the above linked post to be an interesting read. Its focus is Alexy II's positive reaction to Pope Benedict XVI's decision to derestrict the Traditional Latin Mass.

This called to mind a very good article written last year on this same topic by Brian Mershon entitled, Archbishop Burke, Bishop Rifan Comment: Will Classical Liturgy Aid Reunion with Eastern Orthodox?
Some excerpts from Mershon's article follow:

Bishop Rifan: "I really think that the Traditional Latin Mass widely and freely available would be, among many other good reasons, a great benefit in the field of the true ecumenism with the Orthodox," he said. "This would be primarily because the Traditional Liturgy is much more similar to the Oriental [Eastern] rites in the aspect of the sacred, veneration, and beauty."

Archbishop Burke: "It seems to me for the Eastern rites, and for those of the Orthodox Churches, the reform of the liturgy after the council and the concrete expression is so stripped of the transcendent, of the sacral elements, it is difficult for them to recognize its relationship with their Eucharistic Liturgies," he said.

Dr. Alcuin Reid (a noted liturgical scholar): "I suspect that our current liturgical state does not exactly inspire confidence in them," Dr. Reid said. "The Holy Father is, no doubt, aware of this, and most probably hopes to give a sign that Rome wishes to set her liturgy in order once again, and that indeed Rome respects legitimate traditional liturgical rites.

John Cheevers (an Eastern Orthodox layman): "Organic development in liturgy is permissible. Radical invention is not. The Pauline liturgy implicitly seems to move away from the clear expressions of faith about the sacramental nature of the Divine Liturgy commonly understood in the undivided church of the first millennium."

Fr. Jano (a Ukrainian Catholic preist): "On the few occasions when I have served the Mass in Roman Catholic parishes, I have been very surprised to discover how uncomfortable I am with praying to God while facing the congregation," he said. "Probably the most jarring example for me, to illustrate this point, is when I have seen Roman priests reading a prayer at Mass and gazing intently at the congregation while uttering the prayer. I've never understood this," Fr. Jano said. "If you have something important to say to your Father, why would you stare at your brother when you're speaking to Him?

Fr. Thomas Kocik (a Roman Catholic Priest): "The Orthodox are justly disturbed not only by abuses in the post-Vatican II liturgy, but also by approved practices such as female altar servers, Mass 'facing the people' and Communion in the hand," he said. "Given the East's intense conservatism, I think the freeing of the Tridentine liturgy bodes well ecumenically, because these problematic practices are simply not standard features of the Classical Roman rite." "The Orthodox may interpret this as evidence of a renewed seriousness in the Roman Church about the ancient maxim, 'lex orandi, lex credendi,' meaning that as we believe so we pray, and vice versa," he said. "Doctrine and worship influence each other."

Fr. Joseph Santos (a Roman Catholic priest): "Most Orthodox that I know agree that the change in the liturgy was disastrous for ecumenical relations." Fr. Santos said that the rule of "lex orandi, lex credendi" is extremely important in the Orthodox Church. "It is what binds them together as a Church that guards jealously that which has been handed down from the Apostles. If the words and actions are changed, so is the faith; especially in the minds of the laity.


Anonymous said...

How interesting! Ecumenism can extend toward the Orthodox!

Anonymous said...

If "the Orthodox are justly disturbed ... by abuses in the post-Vatican II liturgy", our Protestants brothers might be enthusiastic about it.
But: who cares?
And what about prebyterians? and Jews, and moslims? and hindus? What do they think about our liturgy?
Our prime focus should be the Catholics.

Unknown said...

When I first read the definition of ecumenism, it brought back recollection of something I heard in primary Catholic school back in the 50's.

All the children were told that we must try to convert the world, but it was to the person to be receptive to the truth. Once having discovered the possibility something may be true, then it behooves the recipient to investigate and pray that the Holy Spirit will open the door of belief a bit further. He can always be counted to accompany the recipient on this journey.

We children understood this to mean individuals, as a well as groups. There is already a word for what ecumenism is to represent, and that is the ageless methods of evangelization that has been occuring for 2000 years.

I believe there was nothing to fix in this area. The problem was on the receptive side, not the Church's.

Ecumenism reads too much like concessions at the expense of Catholic Dogma.

It's just not going to work.