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.