The Universal Roman Rite


The Roman Rite of the Church seems to have been an attempt at a ‘general’ rite for all people; what alludes to this theory is that Roman Rite is quite literally everywhere.

While other rites seem to be culturally and ethnicity-bound, the Roman Rite seems to be able to somehow ‘adapt’ to every culture, if you will.

The location of Rome attests to that, too, having a type of ‘unification’ culture that accepted people from all over the world.

What are your opinions on this?


I don’t think so. There are even several different liturgies in the Roman Rite.


Not really. The Byzantine Rite, for example, is used by many ethnicities (Greeks, Russians, Bulgarians, Ukrainians, Arabs and Turks, among many others).

What is clear, however is that the Latin *church *appears to have crossed ethnic lines better than the Eastern *churches *did.


That, however, is more to do with worldly success than anything else. Spain, Portugal, France, and Britain colonised the world. They brought their local Catholicism with them, and it was Latin Catholicism. If Spain was Byzantine then I have no doubt that the Byzantine Rite would have flourished in Latin America.

In Jesus and Mary,


Yes. That’s how I got my Catholicism: from Spain to the Philippines.

The key difference is in the ethnic composition of the churches, not the rites. Even during the age of colonization, the Latin church already had many ethnicities, and that was through missionary effort, not conquest. Ireland, England, France, Germany, etc. were all evangelized, not colonized and they were all part of the Latin church.

The Byzantine Rite was also carried from the Eastern Roman Empire to the Slavs, also through evangelization, which is why the Russians, Ukrainians, Bulgarians, Slovaks, etc. are Byzantine. But their churches are along ethnic lines, unlike the Latin church, which is multi-ethnic. You have the Russian Orthodox/Catholic church, Ukrainian Orthodox/Catholic church, etc, and the ethnicities are sharply defined.

An even more strict example is the Syro-Malabar Knanaya Catholic church, which is not only ethnic, but endogamous.


The Roman Rite is exactly that; the Dominican, Carmelite, Byzantine, and the others are all part of the Catholic church not necessarily Roman. Its part of our diversity. Many Rites under one roof.

At least that’s how I understand it.


And that is where the confusion comes in. I believe the OP actually had churches in mind, rather than rites. And the set relationship between rites and churches differs in the East and the West.

In the East, the churches tend to use a particular rite, e.g. the Greek Catholic Church, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, the Melkite Catholic Church, etc. use the Byzantine Rite.

In the West, we pretty have only one church, the Latin. Unlike in the East, the Latin church has multiple rites. The Roman Rite is of course the most prevalent, but the others (Ambrosian, Mozarabic, Bragan, Gallican, Carmelite, Dominican, etc.) are all Latin rites and part of the Latin church.

In the OP’s context, it’s clear he means that the Eastern churches are more ethnically defined than than the Latin church (not rites). People are members of churches, not rites.



I thought the same thing yesterday but couldn’t articulate it as well as you had.

Can anyone repost the charts of the five Churches and their rites? I can’t do it from my phone.

Perhaps those charts should be stickies…


Give them time. The all-vernacular is still relatively new in the West. :wink:


I don’t know what vernacular has to do with this discussion.


The idea that the Roman Rite was intended to be a universal rite just doesn’t make any sense historically. A little case of tunnel vision I’m afraid. :stuck_out_tongue:


“The Popes and the Roman Church have found Latin very suitable for many reasons. It fits a Church which is universal, a Church in which all peoples, languages and cultures should feel at home and no one is regarded as a stranger.”


But it’s not and never has been universal.


And how not?


Because there have always been Churches that never used Latin in their liturgies. Even the liturgy at Rome wasn’t originally in Latin.


I don’t think you understand me. What I stated was that the Roman Rite is universal, because it isn’t based on ethnicity like many other rites are, supported by Rome’s location and history.


I don’t know of any rite that is “based” on ethnicity.


Take the Maronite Church for the Lebanese for an example.


What do you mean by that? The Roman Canon (starting with “Te igitur clementissime Pater”) was supposedly written in Latin and a Missal of, say 750 A.D., would be recognizeable (save for the fonts) to someone who attends either the Latin OF or EF. Why doesn’t it make sense? Latin had been the administrative language of the Roman Empire and Church documents, Scripture, etc. were preserved in Latin going forward, many by Greeks themselves. It only made sense the liturgy (or at least most of it) be said in a language that was also immutable and provide some continuity in the expanding Roman world.


Who says it’s “for” Lebanese?

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