Possible Liturgical Abuse in Proskomedia?

Hi there,

I am currently in the process of discerning weather God wants me to be an Byzantine Rite Roman Catholic or an Eastern Orthodox.

Last Sunday I decided to attend Divine Liturgy at a local Byzantine Rite Catholic church in my area. I was greatly perplexed by several things that I saw.

During the Proskomedia after the dividing of the prosphoron of the nine ranks, The priest then exited the northern deacon’s door and announced that the laity would be welcome to proceed to the table of oblation behind the Iconostasis and pull out pre-divided particles of the prosphoron, commemorating them to the living and the dead!

During this priests Sermon, I noticed that he made a sharp point to define the liturgy as not* having a sacrificial nature, and he made it clear that the thing behind the Iconostasis was a Table for a meal, not a Sacrificial Altar.

I’m not too familiar with the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, but isn’t some of this a little “non sequitur” as the Latins say?*

Maybe the problem is that you were in a Byzantine Rite **Roman **Catholic parish. There is no such thing.

I am confused by your answer,

Are you suggesting that there is no such thing as the use of the various Byzantine Rites in parishes in communion with the Holy See and Pope of Rome? Or are you suggesting that there is no use of the Liturgy of Preparation in Byzantine Rite Catholic Parishes?

I’ve never heard of anything like this going on in any of the Byzantine sui iuris Churches before (Ruthenian, Melkite, Ukrainian, Russian, Romanian, Italo-Byzantine, etc.). I would recommend simply checking out a different Byzantine Catholic parish, a Melkite parish perhaps. :stuck_out_tongue:

Also, I wonder if the pastor is a bi-ritual priest taking some rather odd ideas that have crept into the Latin/Roman Church over the past few decades, or if he’s simply somewhat renegade.

I am saying that there is no such thing as a Byzantine Rite ROMAN Catholic. The 14 Churches that bear the traditions of the Byzantine Rite in union with Rome are the:

Albanian Catholic Church
Belarusian Catholic Church
Bulgarian Greek Catholic Church
Eparchy of Križevci
Greek Byzantine Catholic Church
Hungarian Greek Catholic Church
Italo-Albanian Catholic Church
Macedonian Catholic Church
Melkite Greek Catholic Church
Romanian Church United with Rome
Russian Catholic Church
Ruthenian Catholic Church
Slovak Catholic Church
Ukrainian Catholic Church

As you can see, none of them are ROMAN Catholics.

For Phillip Rolfes, This particular priest was in fact a bi-ritual priest and the parish “made the switch” seven years ago.

For ConstantineTG, Very Sorry. I used the word Roman to distinguish from the Orthodox who consider themselves the Byzantine Catholic Church, but are not in union with the church of Rome. Do you by chance have an answer for me about the question I posted at the beginning of this thread?

I am confused.

For the Orthodox position on the matter (I would have thought that it is a close match to the Roman Catholic) I am going to copy straight from Orthodox Wiki (shame on me :stuck_out_tongue: ). I could not have written it any better and lack the time.

The Orthodox Church believes the Eucharist to be a sacrifice. As is heard in the Liturgy, “Thine of Thine own we offer to Thee, in all and for all.” [LIST=1]
*]At the Eucharist, the sacrifice offered is Christ himself, and it is Christ himself who in the Church performs the act of offering: He is both priest and victim.
*]We offer to Thee. The Eucharist is offered to God the Trinity — not just to the Father but also to the Holy Spirit and to Christ Himself. So, what is the sacrifice of the Eucharist? By whom is it offered? and to whom is it offered? In each case the answer is Christ.
*]We offer for all: according to Orthodox theology, the Eucharist is a propitiatory sacrifice, offered on behalf of both the living and the dead.
[/LIST]The Church teaches that the sacrifice is not a mere figure or symbol but a true sacrifice. It is not the bread that is sacrificed, but the very Body of Christ. And, the Lamb of God was sacrificed only once, for all time. The sacrifice at the Eucharist consists, not in the real and bloody immolation of the Lamb, but in the transformation of the bread into the sacrificed Lamb. …

I do not want to speculate on what you heard from the priest that day, perhaps the sense of his lesson was a bit hard to discern, or perhaps he was just wrong. I don’t know.

However, it was my understanding that most (though not all) Byzantine Ruthenian parishes do not actually have a Proskomedia, they tend to use pre-cuts. So it is possible that this was a teaching moment for the congregation. Perhaps the congregation is switching over to the traditional practice.

Of course, the Table of Preparation is not an altar, and it is possible he was referring to that, but the altar does have a sense of being a meal table too (while the Table of Preparation doesn’t). This is in conjunction with the sacrifice though, one cannot really exclude the concept of sacrifice.

I don’t know why the priest would let laypersons behind the iconostasis, if he was teaching I think he could have moved the Table of Preparation out into the nave for the purpose.

The Orthodox will never call themselves “Catholic” as a title to distinguish themselves from the Catholics. Though Orthodox are catholic, and Catholics are orthodox. But they will never use the terms that refer to the other for church names so as not to confuse people to which communion they belong to.

Actually, since you meantion it, I find that those who use “Catholic Orthodox” in their title are usually a schismatic group, or those who do not really came from either Church, but use the name to feign some sort of legitimacy to their ministry. Are you sure you didn’t go to the parish of one of these groups?

I think the title of your post says it… It was what sounds like a Liturgical Abuse. While in this case the abuse occured in a Byzantine Catholic parish, I know a few liberal Orthodox priests who may find nothing wrong with what he did. But the fact is that what he did was not in accordance with the traditional or current practice of the Church with the Proskomedia. As to the second issue. The Liturgy/Mass is many things all at once. It is a true Sacrifice, and it is a communal spiritual meal. The Holy Eucharist is the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ Jesus, and it is our Spiritual Food. We can according to our spiritual disposition obtain spiritual and physical fortitude and healing from worthy participation in the Eucharist and in the Liturgical Actions as a whole.

Sadly, as already pointed out, some Eastern Catholic priests, and bi-ritual Latin Rite priests have been tainted by modernism, both inside and outside the Church. While the Orthodox Churches not in communion with Rome are smaller, and have a closer relation with their clergy for the most part due to their relative size, I have met Orthodox priests who have shared some rather liberal and modernist ideas in private. I do not judge the Church by these priest, but rather I understand human weakness being a sinner myself, and see that what they do or have done, is an abberation from the teaching or practice of the Church. I pray for them, and when needed ask where the innovation came from, if I don’t feel the answer is genuine, or in accordance with what I know to be the teaching or practice of the Church, take it up a level to the Dean or other superior.

I understand that as somene who has yet to decide where you will be received, you may not be comfortable with going to the priest’s superior. At the same time I see no reason for you to not ask someone in authority in the Eparchy.

You can find both Catholic and Orthodox parishes which call themselves Orthodox Catholic in their full name. It is common for Roman Catholics to call the Eastern Catholic Churches by misnomers like Byzantine Rite Church or Byzantine Roman Catholic Rite. These are not the proper names, but we understand what you mean.

Your sentence about the parish switching makes me wonder what kind of church you went to, though. I’m not an expert, but I haven’t heard of any parishes which were Anglican or Roman Catholic or anything else which became Eastern Catholic parishes of any sort, at least in the United States. There are Anglican parishes which became Eastern Orthodox, but they don’t use the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. Would you please post the name of the parish and/or PM it to me if you wish it to remain private? I’ll tell you if it was an Eastern Catholic parish.

There is one Church I know of which invites laity behind the iconostas. The Italo-Greeks have the children come up and touch their foreheads to the aer during the Creed as their way of professing their faith. They have the particles for commemoration in the entrance to the sanctuary, though.

With the priest being bi-ritual and the parish being convert-heavy, I’d guess that the point about sacrifice was a wider discussion about how the east and the west view the Eucharist differently. It isn’t uncommon to hear that the west focuses on sacrifice and penance during the Liturgy while the east focuses on the Resurrection and joy. That is a simplification, but I wouldn’t be surprised to hear it in that context. With what you presented here, I wouldn’t be particularly concerned about the homily. I don’t have an explanation for the proskomedia, though.

Perhaps one exception is the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East.

I had the same thoughts.

Priests can be given faculties, and this often happens where an Eastern Catholic parish or mission needs a priest and there is a Latin rite priest available who is able and willing to take on the tasks. I have known some and met others.

Roman Catholic entire parishes do not switch, they belong to their bishop.


Can we cut to the chase, please? Where is this church you attended? Better yet, what is the full name of it? (PM me, if you don’t want to post it, and I’ll let you know whether it is a genuine parish of an Eastern Catholic Church - because it doesn’t sound like it)

OK, I’m going to kind of tie up all of your important questions in hopefully one post

"I do not want to speculate on what you heard from the priest that day, perhaps the sense of his lesson was a bit hard to discern, or perhaps he was just wrong. I don’t know"

Well, I am rather certain that this Priest was teaching that the liturgy is not a sacrifice (which it is). I am completely certain that his flock does not believe the liturgy to be a sacrifice. After the liturgy that day, we were given a tour of the sanctuary by a layperson. Again we were lead through the Deacon Door, this time by the layperson. *Before * he began showing us the various holy vessels on the Table of preparation, he showed us what he called “The Table” as he slapped the Central Altar jovially several times with his hand. He explained I think two times how “the table” was not for a sacrifice, but rather for the meals that Christ shares with us after his Resurrection. He pulled off the cloth that was covering the gospel and showed us the blessing cross and the Gospel Book. All of this was disturbing me, because nothing like this ever happened at the Orthodox church I went to before I visited this church. I was aware during this that the Tour guide never pointed out the Antimension Cloth, and I thought perhaps since they do not believe the Liturgy to be a sacrifice, they wouldn’t use Antimension, since that would accentuate the Sacrificial nature of the liturgy.

After the tour I was very confused because I had known the Liturgy to be a Sacrifice and the holy sacrifice is central to my belief in Christ’s Church, so I immediately went to the priest and questioned him. I will paraphrase his words, as I am not certain of the exact phrasing.

Me; “Father, at the Divine Liturgy is an Antimension used in the consecration?”

Father X: “Yes of course, at this time it is folded under Gospel Book on the Table.”

Me: (cutting to the chase) “Father, I am confused, in my experience in the Orthodox church, I believe that we were to understand that the Liturgy is a sacrifice, isn’t this true?”

Father X “No. the Liturgy is for the offering of praise and thanksgiving, the table is not for “animal sacrifice.” in reality, the Proskomedia is the real sacrificial act as it is at this time the priest chops up the lamb with a spear. The Proskomedia really highlights the sacrificial passion of Christ.”

There was more said, but I think this is enough to put you on the same page I am.

"However, it was my understanding that most (though not all) Byzantine Ruthenian parishes do not actually have a Proskomedia, they tend to use pre-cuts. So it is possible that this was a teaching moment for the congregation. Perhaps the congregation is switching over to the traditional practice."

Not only does the parish website have a Rota of people assigned to bake the Prosphora through 2011, but the lamb was easily visible from my seat. and the entire Proskomedia was done during the chanting of the third hour and very visible (as the Iconostasis was very “open”) According to the parishioners that I talked to, the Parish made “the switch” seven years ago from a Novus Ordo/Vatican II rite church. This was no teaching moment.

If you would like to know the name of this parish, please PM me. I pray this is for the better. I am pretty nervous about the attention this has got, but If the Liturgy is being Abused then that must be stopped.

To VICO: I would like you to know that the Catholic Church, Weather you call it Catholic or Orthodox is not a product of the 1960’s, Perhaps you should take a little brisk walk into the Catechism of the Council of Trent. You will find a very different look at the Eucharist.

I have been happily Orthodox since 2005, and I agree with every point you make about the sacrificial nature of the Eucharist (and I am a bit shocked that any layperson would touch the altar and refer to it as merely a table).

However, I have never heard of a genuine Roman Catholic (Latin rite) parish converting to Byzantine rite of any jusridiction. It isn’t done for a number of solid eclesiological reasons. The parish belongs to the bishop. There is to be no crossing or blending or of rites, the bishop cannot alienate the property to another bishop and he cannot authorize the use of another ritual tradition.

A Roman Catholic bishop can open missions for other Eastern Catholics who lack a hierarchy and require pastoral care, but the Byzantine Ruthenian Catholics have such a hierarchy, as do the Ukrainian (Ruthenian Rite) Catholics and the Romanian Catholics.

It is possible for real property to be sold, or even gifted, to another congregation under another bishop, but standing congregations do not evolve in this way.

I think that you have encountered a vagante group. If you find out the name of the bishop that will be all you need to know. Catholic-Hierarchy.org has all Catholic bishops listed, and they keep up with the changes fairly well.

Actually, I was recieved into the Orthodox Church under the Omophorion of Met. Philip Saliba, Primate of the Antiochian Orthodox Church in the USA. I would consider myself more in the Old Calendar Greek tradition now, but I have always called myself Orthodox Catholic, because there is only One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Another example is the current OCA (Orthodox Church in America) who used to refer to themselves officially as the Orthodox Greek-Catholic Church in America (they called themselves the Metropolia for short). So, your assumption that people who call themselves Orthodox Catholics or Catholic Orthodox are really not part of the Orthodox Church, is in fact untrue. Just sayin’. :wink:

The Sinner,
Most Holy Mother of God save us!

Yes, I am familiar with it, more than a brisk walk, and have posted from it here on CAF. The current catechism of the Catholic Church teaches the same faith. Some church laws have been changed and the Divine laws expressed at Trent are still upheld at Vatican I and II.

Its possible that the Latin Rite parish would have otherwise been closed down, and could have been offered to an Eastern congregation instead. The Latin Bishop could have sold it to the Eastern Bishop, or leased it.

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