30 June 2019

The worst evil of Uniatism?

I find it encouraging that PF has canonised a group of "uniate" martyrs in Romania. I am less enthusiatic about his concomitant statement that "Uniatism is not licit today". If Uniatism means the acceptance of groups into full communion, with their own rites ad spiritualities, then PF is setting himself against many previous popes and not least his immediate predecessor, who erected the Ordinariates. Is PF, in a characteristic confusion, saying that people may only enter into full communion as individuals, and without bringing any patrimony? "If you want unity, then all I
offer you is the Novus Ordo (with, of course, my own on-going corrections of the Lord's Prayer)". Is his message really so narrow-minded, so bitter, so divisive, so destructive, so illiterate? If so, it needs to be vigorously repudiated and corrected. Absolute nonsense, Holy Father!! Here's yet another thing you've got wrong!!

I think that the saddest part in the video of Pope Ratzinger's Inauguration ... I watch it for comfort viewing when feeling depressed ... is the proclamation of the Holy Gospel by the Greek Deacon. The camera swivels to where the Byzantine and Oriental delegations are standing. And some of them have actually turned away, even turned their backs.

It is well known that many Separated Byzantines have a particular dislike of "Uniates". That, of course, is why PF feels he has to keep kicking Uniatism. But I wonder what their view is of the "Western Rite Orthodox" which some Separated Byzantine jurisdictions either encourage or at least tolerate. Why is this phenomenon tolerable while "Uniatism" is the ultimate sin?

Moreover, in (I am open to correction) most of these WRO groups the venerable Roman Canon is corrupted by having a Byzantine-style epiclesis interpolated after the Institution Narrative. This is a  gross disruption which makes a disrupted nonsense of the Roman liturgical Tradition (older, of course, than the Byzantine). For the Roman Canon, Consecration means that we offer bread and wine to the Omnipotent Father so that he, by accepting them, makes them the Body and Blood of His Son in accordance with the Words uttered by the Incarbnate Word. In Byzantium, the Priest, bidden by the Deacon, invokes the Holy Ghost to descend upon the elements so that by His Transformation, they may be the Lord's Body and Blood.

Each tradition is entitled to its own integrity. If some aggressive latiniser were to remove the Epiclesis from the form of the Byzantine Rite used by "Uniates", this would be outrageous,

It is no less outrageously unecumenical that some Byzantines treat the Roman Rite with exactly the same sort of contempt.

For such Byzantines to attack Uniatism is hypocrisy in its most primevally authentic form.

Nor is this behaviour in accordance with the praxis of the Byzantine Churches over two millennia. Many criticisms were, during parts of this period, hurled in each direction across the Adriatic Sea; but, to my knowledge, the lack of an epiclesis in the Roman Canon has not often been one of the criticisms levelled by the Eastern side.

One of our Oxford eccentrics, an Orthodox layman called Raymond Winch, published in 1988 The Canonical Mass of the English Orthodox. This contained what Winch claimed English (not, he emphasised, British) Orthodox were entitled to call their authentic liturgical usage. It consisted of the Roman Rite as used in Anglo-Saxon England.

Winch knew better than to Byzantinise. He wrote in his Preface:
I appreciate that liturgy is inevitably subject to development, but we ought to do our best to ensure that this development is of the gentle organic sort. I emphasise that it would be most unwise to permit any changes in our rite until it is once again firmly established  and in general use among us. In particular the anaphora of the Roman Mass is of great antiquity and provides a vital witness to the abiding tradition of the universal Church. Apart from the proper names, it is essential that the text of the canon be retained without addition or omission. To make any changes in the canon in order to "improve" its theology would be more reprehensible than to alter texts of the fathers on the presumption of superior spiritual insight.

10 comments:

vetusta ecclesia said...

He might not like it but surely he can’t make it “not licit” by a stroke of his opinion?

Deacon Nicholas said...

Not wishing to address the theological issue, I can see at least two practical reasons for the Western Rite Orthodox eucharistic liturgy to include an epiclesis, even if it seems tacked on. Many, if not most, of our Orthodox parishes in the West are somewhat isolated. It may be that a particular WRO parish is the only Orthodox community for a good distance, and so it may well attract Orthodox who are familiar with the Byzantine Liturgy only and who might think there was something missing and possibly invalidating (to use a Western concept) in the Eucharistic sacrifice. So, can we do it for them?

The other reason might be that, without exception I think, the WRO parishes have Byzantine (rather than Western Rite) bishops. I dare say they may also want the epiclesis, "just to make sure." I'm speculating, but the alternative to this interpolation might be not tolerating the WRO at all. My two kopeks.

Ceile De said...

Wanna bet? This past six years has been nothing but an exercise in imposing his every whim.

Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

Not another legal positivist!?!

AvB

Todd said...

It is a shame that Mr.Winch would have been a more authentic "peritus" than the actual "experts" at the Vatican II council's consilium on the Liturgy.
'

Robster said...

I thought "Uniate" was a contemptuous term used by the Orthodox Christians to describe those Orthodox bodies that rejoined communion with the Roman Catholic church. I thought "uniate" was not to be use to describe Eastern Rite Catholics because of this.

Dr. Adam DeVille said...

A couple of potentially clarifying things to consider: I do not think PF or his predecessor think of Anglican Ordinariates at all according to the categories of "uniatism" or Eastern Catholicism for the simple reason that Eastern Catholic Churches are precisely that: sui iuris Churches in the Catholic Communion, while ordinariates are not.

Second, the deploring of "uniatism" goes back now 26 years to the (in)famous Balamand statement of the International Orthodox-Catholic Dialogue. JPII, Benedict XVI, and now PF have all regularly if rather tediously issued these pro forma denunciations of "uniatism" on command, saying it's a method that must never ever be used again. This may or may not reflect their genuine beliefs, but that's not why they utter these statements: they do so because it's the price of continued dialogue with the Orthodox. Now that the Russians have suspended their participation in the international dialogue, and they were far and away the most fanatical about denouncing "uniatism," we shall see whether things develop differently...

Finally, I have talked to highly placed Orthodox liturgists, clergy, and hierarchs, and every one of them to whom I posed the question "Surely 'Western Rite' Orthodoxy is just 'uniatism' in reverse?" has agreed with me without demure.

Fr James Quirk said...

The definition of 'Uniatism' that you offer is surely over-broad: it cannot simply be defined as "the acceptance of groups into full communion, with their own rites ad (sic) spiritualities" and you demonstrate this by applying that definition to the Anglican Ordinariates, which are quite different in nature from the Eastern Catholic Churches. Members of the Ordinariates are, in the end, members of the Latin Church.
On the other hand, Eastern Catholics are members of a Church sui iuris, defined in the CCEO as "a community of the Christian faithful, which is joined together by a hierarchy according to the norm of law and which is expressly or tacitly recognized as sui iuris by the supreme authority of the Church" (CCEO, 27).
The Ordinariates are about how to welcome separated Latin Christians back into the Latin Church, while the Union of Brest was about welcoming Eastern Christians back into communion with the Holy See, parallel to (but not absorbed by or made a part of) the Latin Church.
I would recommend Robert Taft's Anamnesis not Amnesia as a helpful Eastern Catholic appraisal of 'Uniatism' and the problems of ecumenism. It is quite honest about some of the problems with roman policy in the past and it calls for the Orthodox to acknowledge their own failings.

Fr John Hunwicke said...

Well, Faher Deacon Nicolas, my point was that the attitude you describe displays exactly an insulting attitude to Latin Christendom which exactly mirrors the insulting, imperialist attitude towards the East demonstrated by Latinisers.

Alexios Comnenos said...

I have to say here that I agree with the comment that "Uniatism' is a derogative term used by the Orthodox clergies to describe the Byzantine Catholic Church, which is in fact a local Orthodox Church which sought communion with the Apostolic See of Rome. In many countries Eastern European this historical ecclesiastical event was a blessing in disguise.
In Romania, the Greek Catholic Church had initiated around 1700 the usage of the Latin alphabet in the church rituals. The Romanian Orthodox Church was still using the cyrical in order to defrenciate itself from the Catholic Church.The first published work in Romanian and with a latin alphabet is Samuil's Micu "Carte de rogacioni" (english: "Prayer Book") from 1779.
Today most of the Romanian Orthodox clergies, hierarchs and professors have sentiments with total lack of love and consideration towards the Greek Catholic Church. When PF beatified the Romanian Greek Catholic Martyr Bishops, the Romanian Patriarchate had an historical occasion to apologize for collaborating with the communist to persecute this genuine Romanian Church-Greek Catholic Church.
There is still a deep animosity and if may add, hatred, against the Greek Catholic Church.

Fr. George