Maronite or Latin?

I am coming back to the church and my wife is entering it for the first time from Orthodoxy. Now we live in New England and it is tought o find an Latin Mass near us that is not hard on the ears as far as “liturgical” music goes. We are currenly Anglican and high church at that. It is simply beautiful and we will miss it. We don’t have any Byzantine Catholic Churches close enough to be practical but we do have decent access to two or three Maronite Parishes. Because the current state of the local Novus Ordo mass is too much of a distraction for my wife (and me to be honest) would you all recommend the Maronite Church?

If it these were your two choices what would you pick?

I would do Maronite because that is my bias. (The Maronites however in the next few years intend to go back to their Syriac roots. So all bets may be off if the Latin element is something that makes you feel at home)

[quote="Melchior]I am coming back to the church and my wife is entering it for the first time from Orthodoxy. Now we live in New England and it is tought o find an Latin Mass near us that is not hard on the ears as far as “liturgical” music goes. We are currenly Anglican and high church at that. It is simply beautiful and we will miss it. We don’t have any Byzantine Catholic Churches close enough to be practical but we do have decent access to two or three Maronite Parishes. Because the current state of the local Novus Ordo mass is too much of a distraction for my wife (and me to be honest) would you all recommend the Maronite Church?

If it these were your two choices what would you pick?
[/quote]

In general I agree with Addai, but perhaps for different reasons.

Before I ask the next question, though, I suppose it would be fitting to find out from which Orthodox jurisdiction your wife is from? (Since you said you are “returning,” I’m assuming you are were/are Latin Rite. Correct me if I’m wrong about that.) If it’s “Antiochian Orthodox”, the question I have is: if you’re in New England, is there not a Melkite parish within a reasonable distance? (Where there are Maronites, there are also often Melkites.) Melkite would, of course, be the ECC cognate, so-to-speak.

Considering that the “Novus Ordo-inspired School of Neo-latinization” is and will remain (at least in the foreseeable future) in power, I wouldn’t worry about the re-Syriacizing (to coin a phrase) of the Maronites any time soon. It ain’t gonna happen (much to my own chagrin).

But at the same time I agree: if Melchior’s motivation is to find “as close to Latin as possible” then I suggest a parish that offers the Latin Rite EF done well, which will avoid the Novus Ordo (oh no! … I forgot … I’m not supposed to use that terminology: better call it the OF else I’ll get slammed again). In such a case, one might think twice about “going Maronite” or anything else Oriental or Eastern for that matter. I realize that in New England (as in New York) the EF is rather a scarce commodity, but if the preceding is the motivation, it would be be far better to search out the EF done well (or at least find a monastic church (e.g. St Gregory of Portsmouth RI) where the OF is done more-or-less to “reform of the reform” standards). OTOH, if the motivation is truly love of the Oriental and Eastern tradition, by all means give one or another of the Maronite parishes a go.

I was Latin as a child but honestly am a much bigger fan of Byzantine and Eastern rites - though I do love the more proclaimed Word vs. the sung Scripture reading. But I prefer it on the context of my current high church western tradition in an orthodox Anglo-Catholic Church. But I am not married to the Latin version at all. Unless it was all Gregorian chant then it would a Latin preference for me. But I would be very happy in any Eastern context. Probably due to my half-Jewish upbringing. So Middle Eastern/Hebrew liturgics is a big part of me.

She was Greek Orthodox. We did spend a few months visiting the Melkite Cathedral in Boston a few years ago. The liturgy and people were fantastic - but it is geographically a bit too far and I will admit to being a bit self conscious as a half-Jew in a Melkite Church. We had come off a rough experience with my wife’s GOC that was fairly activist regarding the Palestinian perspective which is fine - but it did make me feel very uncomfortable since my perspective is as the son of a Polish Jew whose entire extended family died in Auschwitz. Don’t get me wrong I did not experience anything negative, whatsoever, among the Melkites. It was my own problem. I just wanted to worship without fear of being a political outsider with regards to middle eastern events - and after my experience with the Greeks (and I did suffer some ugly comments) I went with the path of least resistance and joined the African Anglicans. I think I am over it now.

Considering that the “Novus Ordo-inspired School of Neo-latinization” is and will remain (at least in the foreseeable future) in power, I wouldn’t worry about the re-Syriacizing (to coin a phrase) of the Maronites any time soon. It ain’t gonna happen (much to my own chagrin).

But at the same time I agree: if Melchior’s motivation is to find “as close to Latin as possible” then I suggest a parish that offers the Latin Rite EF done well, which will avoid the Novus Ordo (oh no! … I forgot … I’m not supposed to use that terminology: better call it the OF else I’ll get slammed again). In such a case, one might think twice about “going Maronite” or anything else Oriental or Eastern for that matter. I realize that in New England (as in New York) the EF is rather a scarce commodity, but if the preceding is the motivation, it would be be far better to search out the EF done well (or at least find a monastic church (e.g. St Gregory of Portsmouth RI) where the OF is done more-or-less to “reform of the reform” standards). OTOH, if the motivation is truly love of the Oriental and Eastern tradition, by all means give one or another of the Maronite parishes a go.

I will be happy to bring my family into any (Catholic) Church that is committed to worshipping God in the beauty of holiness. I had enough triteness in Evangelicalism and man-centered worship I simply cannot stomach it.

Thanks so much for the advice. I will actually look up St. Gregory in RI. That is actually not that far.

I’m pleased to hear that you experienced nothing negative at the Melkite Cathedral. Actually, I would have been surprised if you had, although I know that some parishioners (usually, and interestingly enough, the American-born) are, shall we say, “activist” on certain political matters. But even so, that would normally not translate to anything personal against a fellow congregant in church.

You experience among the GO does surprise me, though. Sounds almost as it were an Antiochian Orthodox parish.

Anyway, from what you say about distances, etc, I gather you’re somewhere in southeastern MA. Maronite Churches in New Bedford, Fall River, Brockton, Worcester, Providence (actually Pawtucket). Melkite parishes in Worcester, Central Falls, and Woonsocket.

One note about Portsmouth: it is more commonly known simply as Portsmouth Abbey, and sits on Naragansett Bay on the way to Newport. They have a website (portsmouthabbey.org/page/monastery) that you may want to have a look at.

The community is one of two foundations in the US of the English Congregation of Benedictines, (the other is S Anselm’s Abbey in DC) and in the liturgically dark days of the 70s, it was a beacon of hope. From what I hear (and this is truly hearsay as I haven’t been there in 30+ years) the Abbey is still orthodox in outlook and practice. But keep in mind, though, that it is an Abbey and not a parish.

Good luck on your quest. If you do go to Portsmouth, please post your comments. I’d love to know if the Abbey is still as wonderful a place as it once was.

Ironically, I have found the Antiochians (at least the Lebonese Antiochian community) to be much more civil on this topic than the Greeks I know. There is a very strong anti-Israel, anti-Jewish (sometimes even anti-semitic) streak that is currently very cultural among Greeks both Greek Americans and in Greece. In fact when Obama won the major headline in Athens premiere newspaper was “Jewish control finally over” or something very close to that. I am not sure why but I suspect it has to do with the GOC’s role in the Holy Land/Israel/Palestine. Of course I say this as one whose life is Greeks (my wife and kids) so it is not a bias on my part - just an observation. My wife would say the same thing - only with examples.

Anyway, from what you say about distances, etc, I gather you’re somewhere in southeastern MA. Maronite Churches in New Bedford, Fall River, Brockton, Worcester, Providence (actually Pawtucket). Melkite parishes in Worcester, Central Falls, and Woonsocket.

We live pretty close to the Brockton one and reasonably close to the Fall River one.

One note about Portsmouth: it is more commonly known simply as Portsmouth Abbey, and sits on Naragansett Bay on the way to Newport. They have a website (portsmouthabbey.org/page/monastery) that you may want to have a look at.

The community is one of two foundations in the US of the English Congregation of Benedictines, (the other is S Anselm’s Abbey in DC) and in the liturgically dark days of the 70s, it was a beacon of hope. From what I hear (and this is truly hearsay as I haven’t been there in 30+ years) the Abbey is still orthodox in outlook and practice. But keep in mind, though, that it is an Abbey and not a parish.

It looks awesome - seems like a great place to visit on our summer Newport outings. Thank you so much for the direction.

Good luck on your quest. If you do go to Portsmouth, please post your comments. I’d love to know if the Abbey is still as wonderful a place as it once was.

I will be sure too.

Mel

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