Western Rite Catholics

There was a time, however, when the Mozarabic or Spanish Rite had its own particular Church, so did the Celtic rite and the Archbishop of Milan was head of that Church’s rite (in fact, liturgical scholars have discovered an interesting thing - in the ancient Milanese missals whenever the term “pope” is used, this actually refers to . . . the Archbishop of Milan!).

For Western groups who would like to come into union with Rome, there can be no doubt that, for them, the issue of “Rite” is not as nearly significant as the issue of their ability to govern themselves as particular Churches in union with Rome.

For example, there is the Anglo-Lutheran Catholic Church which is essentially a group of Lutherans who have already agreed with everything that the RC Church teaches and have applied to Rome to be accepted as a particular Church. Their plan is to create a church which is “culturally Lutheran” but which is Latin-Rite in all other areas (they practice German religious traditions, display the Rose of Luther etc.). In their parishes, one will see pictures of Pope Benedict and the like. They and their Metropolitan simply await the go ahead of Rome.

I am close to Anglicans who want to become part of the Ordinariates and they are already as Catholic as can be (they don’t see themselves as having anything to do with the Anglican/Episcopal communion whatever).

The Ordinariates base themselves on the “Anglican-Use” parishes in the U.S., but expect to bring in even more from their Anglican traditions, the full Book of Common Prayer in the Catholic recension, etc. They are also asking Rome to regularise their veneration for King Charles the Martyr, the Anglican King who was beheaded for defending a Catholic principle - that of Bishops in the Church. Many Anglican converts to Catholicism, including Bl. John Henry Newman and Ronald Knox, venerated King Charles I privately throughout their lives (there is a picture of King Charles in Newman’s private chapel, for example). The Anglican Catholics coming into union with Rome are not only “Catholic,” but are traditional in the sense that Tridentine Catholics are. Some of them are bitter about how their Anglican prelates have, in their view, mishandled the entire relationship with Rome to the point where their beloved church is in a shambles (as they tell me).

There are “liberal” Catholics up here who are actually very much against these traditionalist Anglican Catholics coming into union with Rome - they feel they will 'stack" the traditionalist opposition against them.

When the Ordinariates are in place, I think we will see an ever greater influx of Anglicans into union with Rome - Anglicans are, by nature, uncontroversial but, as in the case of one Anglican Catholic parish on the short list for membership in an Ordinariate, as soon as word of this got out, that parish now has many more members attending it from the mainstream Anglican church. They enjoy the beauty of their Anglican “whatever you wish to call it” :slight_smile: and want traditional Christian moral principles to be reaffirmed.

All such roads appear to lead to Rome.


In actual fact, the Milanese Rite is different from the Roman Rite and has a number of similarities with the Byzantine Rite (as did the old Celtic tradition which was heavily influenced by Coptic spirituality and to this day, Ireland venerates “seven Coptic monks” buried in Ireland.

The only real reason that these Western rites are lumped together as “sub-rites” of Rome is the fact that they no longer have status as Particular Churches, but have been jurisdictionally subsumed under Rome’s wing.


Yeah, that was our point - the Mozarabic and Ambrosian rites really aren’t “sub-rites” of the Roman. They’re separate rites even though the communities who use them are all part of the Latin church.

Also, isn’t a “particular church” another term for what Roman Catholics typically call a diocese? I think the appropriate term here is “ritual church” - i.e. the Maronite Catholic Church is a ritual church, not a “particular church.”

“sub-rites” is just an easy way to explain it. Roman Rite you can say is the top level.

Again that would not be appropriate today as they are listed under the Roman Catholic Church

The Anglican Use Missal has been approved for over a dozen years… And there have been Catholic parishes using the Anglican Use Missal for as long.

There might be some push to get approved a version of the older Knott missal used by the TAC (and a few other “traditionalist” Anglican groups)… but the Revised BCP liturgy was converted to the AUM in the last century…

The most recent version I’ve found online is the 2003 “Book of Divine Worship” (Newman House Press, Concordat Msgr James P. Moroney, Imprimatur Bernard Cardinal Law).

Yes, the Latin Church does use the term particular church in the manner you described. I think it is also used more widely to cover structures similar in status to a diocese, e.g. military ordinariate, vicariate apostolic, etc.

Personally, I think it appropriate to refer to the 23 individual Catholic Churches as particular churches. I prefer it as an adjective to ‘ritual’, which can perpetuate the common error made mixing up churches and rites.

Churches and rites are different! “Church” has a deep and important theological meaning. That’s one of the reasons why we call Protestant denominations “ecclesial communities” but not not “churches”.

Particular Church is a vague term; it’s any group of parishes under a single bishop! Roman Canon Law (and the CCEO as well) use the term almost exclusively for “a particular church” = 1 diocese.

Ritual Church, however, is much more specific. But it applies as well to Toledo, Spain, and the Dominican Order…

The Dominicans are not the only RC order to have their own rite.

I agree that ‘particular church’ is somewhat vague.

On a personal note I think “ritual church” has it’s own issues. The Latin Catholic Church has a number of rites. I don’t want to get caught up in a side issue of whether say Ambrosian is a Rite or Use of the Roman Rite. I think we could agree that the Latin Church has more than one rite. Consequently, applying the term “ritual church” to Latins, would raise the question in my mind, which rite?

With respect to the Eastern Catholic Churches the situation is opposite, there’s more Churches that rites. So, Byzantine ritual church lends to the question, which Church?

IMHO I also don’t like “ritual church” because to me it perpetuates the common confusion many have of the difference between a Church and a rite.

I used the two I’m most familair with as exemplars, rather than going into the whole list.

I think I understand what you mean, but I still say that’s too imprecise. Of course they’re all under the Roman family of rites, but if we extend the term “Roman Rite” to refer to the whole Roman family of rites, then we’ve sacrificed precision, which is desperately needed on this complicated matter.

I was confused for years about the difference between a “Church sui iuris” and a “rite.” Then for years I mixed up the terms “ritual church” and “particular church.”

I’ve always wanted to learn more and more about the ritual and hierarchical diversity in the Catholic Church today, and I’ve often been frustrated by the lack of precision of the sources I’d encounter. I could have learned what I know now in fifteen minutes if everyone used the terminology precisely and clearly. I think that’s why I’ve been rather nitpicky on this thread.

I wasn’t implying an extension of the term to the other rites in the Roman church. I meant to speak in the abstract; sorry for the confusion. Of course I fully acknowledge that Mozarabic-rite and Ambrosian-rite Catholics are just as much “Roman Catholics” as I am (since we’re all part of the Roman church).

See, I think that’ll just create more confusion. Like I said above, imprecise use of terminology is the reason it has taken an inordinately long amount of time for me to learn even the few things I understand about this at this point.

Yes, I remember how well that distinction clarified things for me when I first learned it.

That’s why I think it would be counterproductive to refer to any of the 22 Catholic churches as “particular churches” … there are way more than 22 “particular churches” in the world.

Okay, that surprises me. Will you explain why Toledo’s diocese counts as a separate ritual church, if that’s what you were claiming there? I thought that the term “ritual Church” could not apply to Toledo (that’s where the Mozarabic rite is used, correct?) since they’re part of the Latin church. Aren’t these Mozarabic-rite Catholics and Roman-rite Catholics part of the same ritual church?

Thanks in advance; I’m always still learning on this matter and always appreciate clarification.

That’s my understanding, too.

Well, ultimately we’ll just have to admit that the Latin church uses more than one rite. Is that a problematic admission? Why can’t we just say, “Here’s the Latin church. Mostly it uses the Roman rite, but it also uses other rites, too, in places like Toledo and Milan”?

So… what would be the correct answer then? Would it be correct to say, “There isn’t just one Byzantine ritual church. Many ritual churches use the Byzantine rite”?

Is that the proper term, though? If not, what is? I would love to know that I’m not misusing any of the terminology when I’m speaking of the Catholic Church’s 22 churches.

And why do you think it perpetuates that confusion? Because it will make people think that a ritual church corresponds to one and only one rite, and each rite corresponds to one and only one ritual church? If that’s the reason, I think that difficulty is easily surmountable. As you pointed about above, the Latin church has more than one rite, and multiple eastern churches share the same rite. When people understand that, don’t you think the confusion with the term “ritual church” will dissipate?

I do not think that it is a solution. It’s just that I think it’s better than ritual church.

No. Not a problematic admission. I would say most use the Roman Rite and its uses: Anglican-Use, Extraordinary Form, and Ordinary Form. Rites linked to dioceses, e.g. Ambrosian, Mozarabic are only used occasionally, not on a regular basis. I think, in effect, the Rites belonging to religious orders have mostly fallen out of use.

I recognise the problem unfortunately I don’t have the solution.

Not too sure of the point you’re making here. The proper term would depend on the context. Some people may have a better understanding of what you’re saying with the phrase “ritual church” others with “particular church”. That’s where the problem lies there isn’t really any definitive answer and these terms will continue to cause confusion.

Btw when you say 22 Catholic Churches are you referring solely to the Eastern ones. There are, of course, 23 Catholic Churches.

It’s important to emphasise this is only my opinion. From many posts I’ve read it seems to me that many people cannot understand the difference between a church and a rite. I just think “ritual church” may give the impression that a church and a rite are the same thing. For example, I frequently see the phrase “Latin rite” when the context in which it has been written clearly indicates the person meant the Latin Church. You also see people talking about the Latin Rite and they mean rite. I’ve given up trying to educate them that there is no Latin Rite per se but that the Latin Church has a number of rites.

At present, the Archbishop of Toledo is also head of rite for the Mozarabic, and it’s an extraordinary form authorized throughout the Archdiocese.

Many of the subjects are not familiar with the Mozarabic, but it’s the unique ritual of that Archdiocese.

Likewise, Milan is the Ritual Church of the Ambrosian Rite… which is also using the Ambrosian as an EF. But, unlike the Mozarabic, there are parishes outside the diocese which use it. The other parishes are subject to the head of rite in matters of liturgical text for that form, but otherwise subject to their own bishop.

But neither Milan nor Toledo is Sui Iuris, despite their Archbishops being Head of Rite.

And remember, Church is used in multiple ways, too…
The Church: The union of the 23 Churches under Rome.
Church Sui Iuris: one of those 23 self-governing churches
Ritual Church: any body using a particular sub-rite that can be distinguished. Many are Sui Iuris.
Particular Church: Any given body of faithful united under their ordinary, who usually is a bishop.
Metropolitan Church: A group of particular churches under one Metropolitan/Archbishop.
Ecclesiastical Province: A Roman Metropolitan Church
Patriarchal Church: A group of particular churches under a patriarch. The Roman ones are essentially metropolitan churches, while the others are Sui Iuris…

I was under the understanding that the Mozarabic Rite was now restricted to the cathedral and a few neighbouring parishes.

Doesn’t the Ambrosian Rite have a large area that extends well beyond even the Province of Milan.

That’s true for Lisbon and Venice. I thought Jerusalem had no province. The East Indies is just a personal title always granted to the Archbishop of Goa and Daman. The West Indies is also a personal title, which is in abeyance.

No doubt this post is for naught, but …

I was under the understanding that the Mozarabic Rite was now restricted to the cathedral and a few neighbouring parishes.

Within the past 2 years or so, it has been adopted by the Abbey of Santo Domingo de Silos. It is also my understanding that it may, with the appropriate permission, be used as an EF equivalent anywhere in Spain.

Doesn’t the Ambrosian Rite have a large area that extends well beyond even the Province of Milan.

Not really. Yes, it is used in some parishes in Ticino, which was originally part of the ecclesiastical Province of Milan.

That’s true for Lisbon and Venice. I thought Jerusalem had no province. The East Indies is just a personal title always granted to the Archbishop of Goa and Daman. The West Indies is also a personal title, which is in abeyance.

Jerusalem is an artificial Latin Patriarchate in the first place. In any case, by sui juris I believe what was meant (Aramis, correct me if I’m wrong), were the **real **Patriarchates, and not the contrived title of “Patriarch” as used by the Latin Church.

I would have been happy to have engaged in cordial, constructive discussion on these points and to have pointed out the error I made regarding the final point. In light of this unusual opening comment, I have decided it would be ill-advised to make any response to the points raised.

I didn’t mean to make any point: it was a sincere question. I’ve messed up the terminology on this matter in the past, and I’m trying to make sure I don’t do so in the future.

Thank you for the correction. I tried to make a complete list recently, but it seems I missed one. Do you know which one the list I made is missing?

  1. Coptic
  2. Ethiopian
  3. Latin
  4. Maronite
  5. Syrian
  6. Chaldean
  7. Syro-Malabar
  8. Syro-Malankar
  9. Belarusian
  10. Bulgarian
  11. Greek
  12. Hungarian
  13. Italo-Albanian
  14. Krizevci
  15. Melkite
  16. Romanian
  17. Russian
  18. Ruthenian
  19. Slovak
  20. Ukrainian
  21. Armenian
  22. Georgian

I understand. It certainly is difficult. Until two years ago I didn’t know there was a difference myself and routinely referred to churches sui juris as “rites.”

Okay, there’s my answer. I had thought that a “ritual church” and a “church sui iuris” were the same thing. Thanks for the clarification!

My terminology was inappropriate; I actually meant I didn’t understand your question.

I fully accept your misunderstanding. I have only recently become aware of the Eastern Catholic Churches. At one time I would have given someone the strange look I get whenever I mention the existence of Eastern Catholic Churches.

Your list had a few errors so rather than pointing out each one, here’s a list of the 23 sui iuris Catholic Churches.

*]Albanian Catholic Church
*]Armenian Catholic Church
*]Belarusian Catholic Church
*]Bulgarian Catholic Church
*]Chaldean Catholic Church
*]Coptic Catholic Church
*]Eparchy of Križevci
*]Ethiopian Catholic Church
*]Greek Byzantine Catholic Church
*]Hungarian Catholic Church
*]Italo-Albanian Catholic Church
*]Latin Catholic Church
*]Macedonian Catholic Church
*]Maronite Church
*]Melkite Greek Catholic Church
*]Romanian Church United with Rome
*]Russian Catholic Church
*]Ruthenian Catholic Church
*]Slovak Catholic Church
*]Syriac Catholic Church
*]Syro-Malabar Catholic Church
*]Syro-Malankara Catholic Church
*]Ukrainian Catholic Church

Just some notes on these chuches:

Macedonian and Albanian should be added.

The Georgian church was not ever recognized as a sui iuris church.

In 2005, the Macedonian Catholic Church sui iuris was added to the Annuario Pontifico as an exarchate - but originally existing in 1918 when Yugoslavia was first created.

Krizevci is in Croatia but the church also includes an exarchate of Serbia and Montenegro.

Ethiopian-Eritrean is correct now since Eritrea officially was independent from Ethiopia since 1993.

The Albanian Catholic Church, Belarusian Catholic Church, and Russian Catholic Church currently have no hierarchy, although they are sui iuris. The last two have no listing in the Annuario Pontifico. They do have some parishes. The Albanian Catholic Church is small with 3,845 faithful in 2010.

Correct, see Post #38.

Most Eastern Catholics in Georgia worship in the Armenian Catholic Church

It is sometimes known as the Croatian Church.

The Church still calls itself the Ethiopian Catholic Church.

The Albanian Church has an Apostolic Administration. The Russian Catholic Church has two Apostolic Exarchates. The Belarussian Church truly has no hierarchy at all.

There are also five Eastern Church communities which have no proper Ordinary:

*]Ordinariate of Argentina, which is subject immediately to the Holy See; +Jorge Mario Card. Bergoglio Abp. of Buenos Aires is its ordinary
*]Ordinariate of Austria, which is subject immediately to the Holy See; +Christoph Card. Schönborn Abp. of Wien is its ordinary
*]Ordinaire des catholiques de rite oriental résidant en France, which is subject immediately to the Holy See; +André Armand Card. Vingt-Trois Abp. of Paris is its ordinary
*]Ordinariato para os Fiéis de Ritos Orientais no Brasil, which is subject immediately to the Holy See; +Walmor Oliveira de Azevedo Abp. of Belo Horizonte is its ordinary
*]Ordynariat dla wiernych obrządku wschodniego (Poland), which is subject immediately to the Holy See; +Kazimierz Card. Nycz Abp of Warsaw is its ordinary

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