Are traditional Catholics the new Byzantines? There are some startling similarities, I think. As with so many Byzantines, we might live miles and miles away from our parish (if we’re lucky enough to have one) and this eliminates daily attendance at a Latin Mass and some times even weekly Mass. Many Bishops and priests ignore or dislike us… they want us to be assimilated into the modern Roman rite… they’re convinced that their spirituality is superior to ours… not just another way of practicing the same Catholic Faith (I’m talking about orthodox Catholics who like the new rite… not the dissenters and liturgical terrorists). And, as with the tragic exodus of many Byzantines into the Orthodox church in the early 1900s, some traditional Catholics attend schismatic chapels rather than abandon their tradition. So, the question remains: at the present day in the Catholic Church, are traditional Catholics relegated to the same second-class citizenry and bigotry that Byzantines were (and, in some ways, still are) accorded to them IN THEIR OWN CHURCH? Is this also leading to a Roman version of “Byzantine bitterness” in which anything post-conciliar is automatically trashed by many traditionalists in the way that certain Byzantines have a knee-jerk suspicious reaction to anything Roman? Certain tirades I’ve heard against Divine Mercy and the Luminous Mysteries would seem to indicate that this is so.
Let me throw my opinon into the arena.
Traditional Catholics are Roman Catholic. The same as those that choose to attend NO masses.
The exclusive nature of their traditional Mass makes them burn more gas to attend a mass with the same exact meaning and weight as the NO the rest of us attend. The Sacrifice on the Altar, The Lamb, Is the same Lamb at both our Masses.
So no, they aren’t like the Byzantines.
The air of martyrdom they seek is self inflicted.
Therein lies the differernce.
You might disagree, thats just my opinion.
You have a point. The differences between the spirituality in the NO and Latin Masses aren’t as drastic in my humble opinion as that of the Romans and the Byzantines. But I don’t think the martyrdom is self-inflicted. I go to the Latin Mass because I feel spiritually nourished there, not because I want to be the member of a private club. The point is that traditional Catholicism, as with Eastern Catholicism, are two perfectly valid ways of being an orthodox Catholic (and ways that have produced countless Saints!) and yet they’re persecuted at worst and tolerated at best by many of the powers-that-be in the Church.
I don’t know much about the experience of Byzantines, and know more about the experience of RC “Trads”. In my opinion, whatever it’s worth, the modernists in the Church had their day, but their influence is receding. While it isn’t true everywhere, I am seeing a lot more appreciation of, e.g., the Tridentine Mass and other traditional things in the last few years than I saw in the previous 30 years.
In my opinion, the intolerance of the modernists was not so much an intolerance of traditional forms as it was an intolerance of traditional thoughts and mores. It may be an awful thing to say, but I think, for instance, that there was a conscious effort to stifle the mystical; the personal relationship with God and his saints; personal prayerfulness. There was a conscious effort on the part of some to make the Church an essentially political and social institution. Notwithstanding that this all “seems” to have started in 1965, I think the problem predates Vatican II by a long way. Vatican II did not create the dissent and intolerance. It only revealed some things that were not so good and needed to be purged.
I think the modernist efforts have failed, and appreciation of the traditional, in all its forms, but most especially in the centrality of its emphasis on conversion of the human heart, is on the verge of a renaissance and a new appreciation in the Church. I would encourage you to have patience just a little while longer, my friend, and I ask the Lord to bless you.
I agree to an extent. However, I think that orthodox Catholics generally have the same spirituality as traditionalists (example, we both pray the rosary, chaplet of divine mercy, etc.) Our differences come into play because traditionalists follow a different liturgical calendar and fast days. I, as a traditionalist, have felt a lack of compassion for us. However, I think it is because of a lack of understanding, not because they dislike us. Many don’t know that a traditionalist can remain in communion with the Church. However, there are those in authority who think that traditionalism is a temporary thing, however, I don’t think that many of those people exist. On the issue of Vatican II. I think that Vatican II’s documents were written ambiguously, however, there is nothing wrong with the documents of Vatican II if you look at them with the eyes of tradition. Such as religious liberty, if you look at it with the eyes of tradition you will see that is teaches nothing different than in the good-old pre-Vatican II days. The documents were simply very ambiguous in certain places. I do question one’s interpretation of Vatican II when one says “the Spirit of Vatican II”. With the issue of the Reform of Liturgy there were ends and means. The ends were, for example, greater participation, therefore the vernacular was introduced. However, I think that the ends are more important than the means. So if an end can be met without the mean, you don’t need to employ that mean. Most indult parishes have great participation from the congregation. I do think that certain prelates have taken ecumenism way to far and I think certain prelates believe in Universal Salvation. I did not agree with the recent statement about Limbo (I personally believe in Limbo), however, I respect the Holy Father’s opinion because there is no defined teaching. And, most indult parishes, I believe, incorporate the Divine Mercy into Low Sunday Mass. So I don’t think that there is a problem there with most traditionalists.
Lest I be misunderstood. I am a traditionalist in many ways. But I do see great value in, e.g., the Novus Ordo in the vernacular. I do see value in a certain softening of what was sometimes a “hard edge” in pre Vatican II churchmen. (Italians, seemingly, excepted.) I have never felt that many American bishops’ intolerance of the Tridentine Mass was justified or right, and seemingly the Popes have felt the same way. I am going to tell you that I was mightily upset about dropping the “Kyrie” in Greek; our one linguistic link to our brothers in the Byzantine Catholic Church. I was as upset about that as I was about losing the remainder of the Mass in Latin.
Still, as I see Fundamentalist Protestants joining our local parish in numbers that would have been unheard of when I was growing up, I see wisdom in the vernacular and the “plainness” of the Novus Ordo, for example. I see wisdom in the (very limited) “Anglican Use” which, to a lover of the English language, has a richness and majesty all its own.
I think the Church is near to achieving a new maturity, in which various expressions, including your own, will be understood as the spiritual treasures that they really are.
But, as I think you are saying, whether I am at Novus Ordo “plain” Mass, an Anglican Use Mass, a Tridentine Mass, a Latin Novus Ordo Mass or a Byzantine Mass, the relationship with God in the Eucharist and in my heart is the thing. If I have that, I very nearly cannot fail to love my neighbor, who is equally beloved of God.
I love this thread! I had one comment, though. Isn’t it true that one is required to attend Mass weekly, even if a Latin Mass is not available?
Yes, it is required. I don’t mean that you miss weekly or daily Mass if there’s no Latin Mass available. I live 30 miles from my parish… daily Mass is almost impossible for me to attend there. I mean that, much like Byzantine Catholics far from their parishes have to fulfill their spiritual duties at a Mass that isn’t necessarily in tune with their spiritual heritage… not better or worse, just different… Catholics attached to the Latin Mass must do the same.
Okay, that makes sense. Thanks!
You decide. From the Canon Code:
- §2 Whenever necessity requires or a genuine spiritual advantage commends it, and provided the danger of error or indifferentism is avoided, Christ’s faithful for whom it is physically or morally impossible to approach a catholic minister, may lawfully receive the sacraments of penance, the Eucharist and anointing of the sick from non-catholic ministers in whose Churches these sacraments are valid.
Can. 1248 §1 The obligation of assisting at Mass is satisfied wherever Mass is celebrated in a catholic rite either on a holyday itself or on the evening of the previous day.
§2 If it is impossible to assist at a eucharistic celebration, either because no sacred minister is available or for some other grave reason, the faithful are strongly recommended to take part in a liturgy of the Word, if there be such in the parish church or some other sacred place, which is celebrated in accordance with the provisions laid down by the diocesan Bishop; or to spend an appropriate time in prayer, whether personally or as a family or, as occasion presents, in a group of families.
For those who live a long distance from a parish ~ there is EWTN cable channel. There’s a mass there every day. And a rosary. Is it the same as worshiping with your local community? No. But it is something.
EWTN is my default TV channel. If nothing else is on, and I want to turn on the TV just to have something on, then it is EWTN. Sometimes I do my work while listening to the sisters say the Rosary. I hope that isn’t wrong. I have to work for my living and yet it is nice to even hear the rosary, even if I can’t join in. It’s a peaceful process for me. Is it the same as going to Mass or going to Rosary? No. But it fills in the gaps in between. And of course, if I want to participate, I can always do that.
And EWTN is a lot more uplifting than the news!
Weekly mass in the Tridentine mass, I hope? Being traditional does not enable a person to skip Sunday mass just because it’s “NO”. Similarly, just because someone didn’t like the Tridentine mass, that wouldn’t give him the right to skip Sunday mass just because Tridentine were the only available.
Yup. There being no indult mass around doesn’t lift the Sunday obligation. Similarly, if the indult mass were the only available, a person opposed to that liturgy would be violating the Sunday obligation by skipping it.
As for me, I’m not Traditional in the sense that we should stick by the 1962 missal and stop using the vernacular (I know Latin, I teach it, I like the mass in Latin, I’d go to indult mass every now and then if it were available, but it’s good there’s mass in the vernacular). However, I’m traditional with a lowercase “t”, meaning that I’m attached to the liturgical tradition of the Church and opposed to abuses, illicit changes and modification to the liturgy and all sorts of modernism or whatever seems to be a reduction of reverence. For example, I don’t frown on communion in the hand just because it’s deemed modern by some (I have received that way following the local parish custom when abroad), but at the same time I’m saddened by more and more bishops choosing to remove genuflection from reception on the tongue. For example, regardless of kneeling reception on the tongue being the default norm in the Roman Church, my parish has been told to start receiving standing instead of kneeling and I’ve heard that an auxiliary bishop asked our pastor why we “still” had not introduced standing reception. While standing reception is not wrong per se, that kind of change saddens me. The same goes for removing more and more fasting or abstinence days - for example, what’s wrong with abstinence from meat on Fridays, especially if it’s default in canon law? Why do conferences of bishops remove it? I just don’t like the whole thing about relaxing discipline, lifting the people from their knees and whatnot. I dread to hear, “that’s not done anymore,” and I shudder when I hear, “do you still do that?” I feel very alien in modernistic environments, or liberal ones. I sometimes wonder if it’s the same church. If someone, let’s say, told me to bow before the Tabernacle instead of kneeling down, my gaze would probably tell him to go play outside, even if I might be a bit more verbally charitable.
In a non-formal manner let me state my opinion. I come from a long line of Catholics. Just to let every know how deep is Catholicism in my blood line, there is a need to mention that Catholicism is part of my culture.
As the thread proposes that the traditional catholics of today share something in common with the one’s who belonged to the Byzantine Empire, and by meditating on the history of my ancestors, I agreed on the similarity of the high standar of moral values that exists in the traditional catholics of today to the moral values practiced in the Byzantine Empire.
I was raised NO, pretty much knew nothing else and I almost lost my faith.
I found it again in a Ukrainian Catholic Church, and now I have being sustaining and “feeding” my faith with the Traditional Latin service.
To say the least I’m starting to become quite bitter to the NO …
If only for the reason that I’ve found my faith in every other Catholic service except the NO. What I find even more interesting is that when I do make the trip to a UGCC or TLM, it gives me the spiritual “energy” to go to NO services with vigor for some time. I would never skip out on any mass period, the body of Christ is too important, but why is that the TLM and UGCC remind me of that importance… yet it’s lost at NO services?
Oh well, this is just all highly subjective, but I find this thread VERY interesting.
And it seems that I’m at the crossroads of becoming a full blown Byzantine or Trad. The fact that I have mixed Eastern/Western (papa is Polish, Mom is Ukrainian) roots also adds to the dilemma. I feel at “home” in both settings. I think I have a calling to the priesthood, but will it be served behind an iconostasis or behind a communion rail?
I think the many similarities pointed out between Easterners and traditional Latins are very interested and show there might be a potential for the TLMers to become new Byzantines. At the same time I think the Latins have something going for them that the Easterners never did - the tradition they are trying to preserve is actually the tradition of those in power. This means 1) certain disciplines don’t cause conflicts - clerical celibacy, for instance, being a non-issue and 2) there is a choice as to whether to fight for particular traditions as a worshiper with the '62 missal or merely as something any good NO worshiper should do - Byzantines have/had no “reform of the reform” that could help their cause. Also, it seems that modernism weakening its grip, so traditionalist Latins may not be underdogs long enough to develop an enduring us/them complex.
I am not big on the politically correct notion of “diversity”, but I do think diversity within the liturgies and practices of the Church are a good thing, so long as it is within reasonably defined limits and abuses are immediately and authoritatively curtailed. I’m all for the TLM, the Byzantine rites and the N.O.
I understand those, like a previous poster, who felt he almost lost his faith in a N.O. environment. The sense of reverence and piety one has in a TLM or BC Mass are just not as strong. But on the other hand, I was raised TLM Catholic in a “country fundamentalist” environment, and there really is something about the simplicity of a properly done N.O. Mass that resonates with me. Back then, there was practically nothing on the radio but country gospel tunes, and when we finally got TV, I looked forward, every Saturday night, to the “Ozark Jubilee”, in which gospel songs were always part of the show. I have to admit that I like it a lot when one of those old country songs is used in our parish. I am guilty of singing “Just a Closer Walk With Thee” or “I’ll Fly Away” when I’m working out in the woods, too. I used to slip through the woods and briars to watch, from hiding, the “brush arbor” services and the creek baptisms that the country fundamentalists did. They seemed almost comical in a way, and did amuse me some, but you could also see the directness of the unadorned spiritual fervor of many. There was almost a spiritual desperation to it; a single goal; to be delivered of one’s sins and to be “saved”, as they saw it. I remember, as a kid picking strawberries, hearing the pickers join in some gospel tune or other when the sun was so hot we could barely breathe. There was something awfully impressive about that.
Being a Ridgerunner, then, I guess I might be a little backward, and therefore more impressed with the N.O. that I ought to be. I have never seen a “clown Mass”, and I am sure I would not like it. I am talking about plain but reverent N.O. Masses. I have also seen some of those same creek-baptized people come into the Church in recent years, and I think, at least, that I know why. All their lives, they have wanted to be closer to Jesus in a very personal way, and when they finally can come to believe He’s in the Eucharist, well, that satisfies the hunger. Also, when people would get “saved”, then get thrown into horrible doubt when they inevitably sinned again, that’s also resolved with Confession.
What I do not like, at all, is when bishops say “no, you can’t have a TLM in this diocese” or refuse to allow the Anglican Use or, God forbid, discourage Byzantine rites in any way. I think the Church is bigger than that. And if I saw a bishop “outlaw” the N.O. in a diocese, particularly in the Bible Belt, I would feel the same way.
Ridgerunner, thanks for the great post!
Need to cancel your cable then. Watch it here: www.ewtn.com. Select Television. Hope they start broadcasting some TLMs soon.
The Byzantines are a different story entirely than the tridentines.
The Byzantine Catholics are people of specific ethnicities, Rusyns, Ukrainians and others, who have familial and cultural ties as well as religious ones.
Tridentines come from all different ethnicities, and have only religious ties with their fellows traditionalists.