Can a Roman Catholic attend a Byzantine Mass when there are Roman Rite options available?

There is a Byzantine Church about three blocks from where DH works and we have often considered going to Mass there. But he brought up a question that neither of us knew the answer to the other day - can a Roman Rite Catholic just choose to attend a Byzantine Mass when there are Roman Rite options available for Mass? Or would attending any other Rite for that matter only be used when no Roman Rite option were available?

I’ve never even thought to post in the old Eastern forum so at the very least the change got me to make a post here! :slight_smile:

I hope this new forum works out for everyone.

~Liza

You have a canonical right to go to any Catholic Church sui iuris.

I can look it up later if someone else doesn’t post it first.

Thank you - I would be interested to see that, I’m sure my DH would like to know the details.

~Liza

I go to the Byzantine church from time to time. Valid holy orders, valid Eucharist, valid Liturgy. I would however say that when it comes to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, you should stick with your own rite. Think of it this way. America is filled with many cultures and such. Would it make you less American if you were to shop in the Polish district of Chicago? No, because even though the person who runs the shop is probably of Polish descent, both you and him are American.

Why the restriction on reconciliation? Can you tell us more about your view there?

I know that you can receive that sacrament in any Catholic Church, so why your advice?

The proper term for the Byzantine “Mass” is the Divine Liturgy. The term Mass comes from a closing prayer in the Roman Missal: Ite Misa est, if I remember it correctly. It’s a widespread misnomer. I remember about two years ago attending a special museum exhibit on medieval Novgorod. I remember that the museum proctors made the same mistake in their descriptions of the Byzantine service. In the comment book, I made note of this change.

Latin Rite Catholics may fulfill their Sunday obligation by attending a Byzantine Catholic Divine Liturgy. There are other Eastern Catholic services (such as the Qurbono of the Maronites) that also fulfill the Latin Catholic Sunday obligation.

To further explain the above, the Qorbono, Divine Liturgy, and Mass are all Sunday liturgies. The Byzantines will have Divine Liturgy. Some Eastern or Oriental Catholic Churches have non-liturgy prayer services on Saturday night, but a Roman Catholic’s obligation is not met at these. Unfortunately, some Eastern Catholic Churches also have Saturday evening Liturgy, which does fulfill the Roman Catholic obligation. I haven’t found the canon yet, but am still looking.

I hope this isn’t ‘hijacking’ the thread but… is it OK to just go and see what it’s like or do you have to learn about the service first? Would I be able to follow along? Should I talk to the priest first and ask if it’s OK?

I recommend that you read up on the Divine Liturgy first. It is VERY different from the Novus Ordo.

Originally Posted by Neil_Anthony:

I hope this isn’t ‘hijacking’ the thread but… is it OK to just go and see what it’s like or do you have to learn about the service first? Would I be able to follow along? Should I talk to the priest first and ask if it’s OK?

You can just go. Most churches have service books with which you can follow along. A friendly email to the priest cannot hurt. He might be able to provide you with a basic history of his church and the service. The Byzantine Divine Liturgy is much different from the Roman Mass (be it in its ordinary or extraordinary expression). You can read up on it beforehand (which would help) but it’s not necessary. The best way to learn about the Divine Liturgy is by actually attending it.

Thank you for this! I would hate to offend anyone with my ignorance, so little things like this are good to know.

[quote=Neil_Anthony]I hope this isn’t ‘hijacking’ the thread but… is it OK to just go and see what it’s like or do you have to learn about the service first? Would I be able to follow along? Should I talk to the priest first and ask if it’s OK?
[/quote]

This is an excellent question actually! I would love to know what the others think.

~Liza

I have read it, or as I should say, I prayed it. So I know what it is like. I have gone to the DL for about a year now. In fact, just before summer started, they came out with a new Missal with several really minor changes. A word here and there and several pitch changes. To me, the DL is a combo of the NO and the Tridentine, at least the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom is.

dbacks5439,

Are you going to a Ruthenian church? I remember the one I attended about a year ago made several changes to the missal.

Well, I am guessing that Eastern Catholics have a different way of administering the Sacrament. It is just my opinion that in this case, one should stick with the form that they already know instead of receiving forgiveness in form that is foreign to them. Of course any Catholic can receive all 7 sacraments, but that’s my take on Reconciliation.

Yes, it is Ruthenian Catholic. It is part of the Byzantine rite that celebrates principally the DL of St. John Chrysostom. In fact, the priest is Fr. Thomas Loya. Not sure if you heard of him, but he is an expert on Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body.

Liza, my wife and I are members of SS C&M in Sterling Heights, and I’ve attended Divine Liturgy at Our Lady of Redemption Melkite parish in Warren. I knew I wouldn’t be able to get to SS C&M for the Feast of the Assumption a few months ago, so I asked if it would be OK for me to attend OLR instead, and he said it would. I could’ve found a way to make it to a Latin-rite parish, but Fr. said it was fine either way.

And, the pastor of the Melkite parish had no problem with me just dropping by to experience the Divine Liturgy. I found the people of OLR quite welcoming, and one gentleman in particular noticed that I seemed a bit lost and took it upon himself to guide me through the service book (and even complimented me on my Arabic pronunciation :D)

That church is about 20-30 minutes from my house. I attended it for about a year. I wonder if I ever saw you there… :slight_smile:

Yes, they do. That should not be a deterrant.

I would not recommend it for the average passer-by for another reason. The Eastern Catholics have a different code of canon law and a different theology. They view confession differently. Most Byzantine-Ruthenian Catholic priests will be familiar with the Latin confession form and of the Latin’s obligations in confession, but there is no guarantee. I believe it is best to get regular guidance within one’s own faith tradition.

Now if you just need to get to confession today, by all means, go!

You’re completely free to attend, receive communion, make Sunday obligation, and there’s no requirement of necessity.

I think you mentioned that earlier this year. I know another Eastern Orthodox on the forums that goes every now and then. Did you go to Annunciation before you became Orthodox or when you were Orthodox?

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