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Archive for May 20th, 2011

The Spectrum

I recently wrote that I was on the Orthodox end of the Byzantine Catholic spectrum.

I was mostly speaking of individuals; the range goes from folks who are pretty much Latin, who attend the Divine Liturgy of the Byzantine Church because it is more formal and mystical than what they find in the local parish, to others who are pretty much Orthodox in conviction and praxis but who, because of conviction or caution, do not make the break.

And of course there are those ethnic Byzantine Catholics whose zeal for the papacy is unrivaled, forged as it has been in the fires of persecution.

But it is also true that there is a hugely diverse spectrum in parishes as well. This was not so apparent to me here in Ohio, where every parish I have visited has pretty much done away with Latinizations and returned to its roots. Yes, generally you will find an evening Liturgy instead of vespers on Saturday, and  you can find churches  like the Ukrainian parish in Akron where,  while the iconostasis is beautiful, there are stations of the cross on the walls.

But there is also great diversity in parishes. I have long been told that many parishes in Pennsylvania never returned to their roots and were still westernized, and I recently encountered evidence that this was true beyond anything I had imagined.

Here is the interior of a Byzantine Catholic church in Pennsylvania: No

  iconostasis. Statues of the Sacred Heart and Our Lady of Grace. Only the presence of three small icons on tetrapods on either side and in front of the apse and two Slavic three-barred cross indicate that this is not a Roman Catholic church.

Now, contrast this with another Eastern parish, St Elias the Prophet of Brampton, Ontario.

No pews, beautiful traditional iconography, looking like it could have dropped down from some heavenly archetype of medieval Kiev.

While it is easy to denounce “Latinization”, it is important to remember that the sort of  changes that we see in the church in Pennesylvania were not imposed by the Vatican, but were chosen by the priests and people, generally to prove, in light of Latin rite suspicions, that we are real Catholics.

Still, which of these parishes is acting faithfully to the call of Rome to  the Eastern Church to be true to its heritage?

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“Families who have farmed for several generations and fighting floods for years say it’s never been this bad. Farmers know it is not an easy thing to recoup such losses. A common attitude is: ‘You just wait. It’s in God’s hands.’ ”

On the impact of the Mississippi River flood on rural folk:

http://www.ncrlc.com/news.aspx?ID=161

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