It is in fact a complicated issue, with some parties looking for restoration of pre-Roman influence, some liking the status quo of todays post conciliar liturgy, and a third (smallest) party promoting a return to the much more heavily latinized pre-Vatican II “Marinonite Mass”. (The SSPX supports such an effort, having an affiliated monastery in Scotland where two or three Maronites celebrate the “old rite” in fiddlebacks at high altars. I kid you not!)
Questions of “the bomb being dropped” are sort of difficult to sort through. Regardless of origins of some practices, how many generations may something exist before it is said to be “owned” by the locals? What mandate is there to always and everywhere seek restoration of older or more primative usages? At what point does one start to run into issues of Antiquarianism? What is the “magic date” for the perfect template of liturgy?
I used to be very concerned about all these things… It occured to me that it is remarkable difficult to be a “purist” to anyone’s satisfaction though. Certainly no significant party of Romans is clamoring for the expurgation of that eastern-originated holiday Christmas! And if you should meet any Roman voiciferously demanding a return to Masses in catacomb tombs and recieiving converts by having them to wear sack clothe and ashes, gently suggest they seek counseling.
A decade ago I met a pious Maronite who lived through some atrocities no child should live through during the Leabanese Civil War. He emerged from the experience deeply spiritual. He became a vegetarian on the spiritual merits of its penitential nature, and wishing to take himself outside of the cycle of seeing life ended rather than based on the merits of his Maronite patrimony. He developped a great love for the Rosary and a joy in reading about Saing Margaret Mary’s writings on the Sacred Heart. He would not dream of not receiving the Eucharist daily, and went to Roman Mass often. He would not dream of NOT going to it because it was not Maronite… If he read about a saint in the Roman Church or one of the new martyrs from the Greek Catholic Church, he would frequently develop a spiritual relationship to them.
Now if any party here wishes to approach this man and tell him to quit talking to the Mother of God with that Roman rosary or to Jesus in adoration, or worrying about the writings of saints who came from France… Well do me a favor and give me a heads-up. I want to be in another room far, far away when that goes down.
I don’t mean to belabor the point, but my time with the Maronites has made me sensitive to those outside the community who, acting as purists, put the moniker of “Latinized” in them all too readily and knowingly (often smugly) want to say “look at them! What a pity! tsk, tsk”. A few months back, a YouTube clip of their liturgy seemed to be brought up on CAF by parties who I can’t help but believe had no more edifying intention than to do just that.