maronite rite

supermahler2012  asked:

JMJ. Good day, Father. I'm currently at odds with myself as to where my soul is. I am Catholic, and my Newman Center is definitely where my Catholic friends and family are in the university setting. We have Novus Ordo Masses. Right now, I'm discerning whether to be a traditional Catholic or not, and I feel divided as to which Mass is "correct" or necessary for salvation (think of the saints!!). I'm a split soul! Yet our Newman director says that the Holy Spirit always unites. What should I do?

Hello,

That is an interesting dilemma. I’m not sure if I feel comfortable with the question.

It’s as if our Faith, one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic, has been divided into two separate religions–the “Novus Ordo” religion which you presently belong to, and the “traditional Catholic” religion, which you are interested in converting to. LOL. Does that sum it up correctly?

It is a unique “Roman” or Latin-rite problem, because Catholics of the Melkite rite, Byzantine-Greek rite, Ruthenian rite, Maronite rite, Chaldean rite, etc. do not have these interior splits. A guy will just say, “I’m Chaldean” or a lady will say “I’m Maronite.” It is only in the Latin rite Church that Catholics are in full fledged war over “which Mass” is the “real Mass” and will get our souls to heaven.

Now you know why Eastern rite Catholics roll their eyes, at these conflicts. The Latin-rite fighting ignores, and practically erases as if they’re invisible, that entire hemisphere of the Church where they neither follow Novus Ordo, nor Extraordinary Form (Tridentine) Mass. And yet they have the Mass, which they call the Divine Liturgy. They have a healthier way of looking at the liturgy, however.

Eastern-rite Catholics see the liturgy as an external expression, as an outer form, of faith, piety, and spiritual formation. The liturgy is NOT the Faith. The liturgy is NOT the piety of the Church. It is an outward form. Like all outward forms, it has developed according to culture, language, symbols and gestures of a certain people, and it gets “tweaked” or developed according to the needs of the people.

The forms of Eastern Catholic liturgy get changed far less, than in the Latin rite. Perhaps that is why the Easterners fight far less than the Roman Catholics do. But the point is this: the Catholic Faith is an all-encompassing mysticism, a spiritual force, which has certain externals, or forms. While the forms that we receive from history and ancient customs should be honored and cherished, they should not be slavishly prioritized above things like Scripture, doctrine, practical pastoral care, and the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.

The “novus ordo” or the Mass of Paul VI is the Latin-rite’s “Ordinary Form” at the present time. The traditional Catholic communities celebrate the Mass of Pius V, “traditional Latin Mass” or “Extraordinary Form.” I know that many people believe one or the other is superior. 

I cannot state that myself. After 24 years, and having been stationed in eight parishes, and having worked with Asians, African-Americans, Hispanics, Portuguese, Italians, and many other diverse groups of rich and poor, conservatives and liberals, I do not believe the Mass alone gives God glory, and makes people good disciples of Jesus.

In my opinion, what gives God glory, and turns people into good Christians, is their ability to have an open mind to follow God’s Word as it is taught by the Catholic Magisterium, and their ability to have an open heart to love as many people as possible. It is simply not my belief that Catholics attending the traditional Latin Mass are holier, because they attend a “superior Mass,” than “novus ordo” Catholics, because they attend an “inferior Mass.”

I will state this, however. As someone who pastored a Latin Mass community in the Extraordinary Form, I believe that such communities have a more concentrated gathering of Catholics who are well-educated in doctrine, reverent in liturgy, and faithful to the spirituality of the Saints. They are small clusters of Catholics who come together to support each other in a Catholic practice that is uncompromising, staunch, and is docile to all the teachings of faith and morals.

That is a very attractive thing, no? Honestly, our Catholic parishes are just too large. It’s easy to get lost in a Catholic parish community, with hundreds of Catholics sitting next to you at one Mass. Most people don’t know each other. They do not support each other to get more hard-core in their Catholic Faith. A large group will necessarily be more diverse, and include a lot of people who are wishy-washy, liberal dissenters, shallow, and unapologetic in their ignorance of Catholic doctrine.

You can stay in a novus ordo community like that and try to build it up, try to make it more reverent, try to be an example of stronger fidelity, try to admonish your fellow Catholic to stand by Jesus’ teachings, etc. That is a missionary thing to do–to reform a Catholic parish from within. On the other hand, if you go to a traditional Latin Mass community, you are in a small, highly concentrated group of like-minded Catholics.

Being in an Extraordinary Form community does not take too much missionary work because the people there already study their doctrine; they already know the parts of the Mass and how to pray with devotion, even in Latin; they know how to behave and take the Mass seriously; they already know about the rosary, novenas, fasting, the Divine Mercy, Holy Hours of adoration, and the musical tradition of Gregorian chant. 

Yes, yes, there are hard-core and faithful Catholics in the novus ordo parishes, but in the traditional Latin Mass gatherings they are in “concentrated” form and nobody “adds water” to water down their faithfulness to the Church. They are staunch and courageous and as a small community everybody knows everybody else and tries to keep them on the straight and narrow.

I could not possibly recommend one, over the other to you, because I do not know you. Someone who is a “free spirit” traditional Catholic will gravitate to the novus ordo Masses, because they get excited at the challenge of converting Catholics to their own religion–meaning getting the wishy-washy folks to be serious Catholics. They love the parish diversity and interesting hodgepodge of personalities.

On the other hand, traditional Catholics who are weaker in their Faith, or just impatient at dealing with all the dissenting and ignorant Catholics, or who are just fed up with novus ordo Masses that are entertainment fests, will want to gravitate away from the typical novus ordo parish and seek out “concentrated Catholicism” where most people think alike and support each other in a more insular, closed-off atmosphere.

Know yourself. Be realistic. Don’t leave a novus ordo, or a Newman church setting because it’s too emotional, feeling-oriented, with lots of preaching of love, and then later complain because people at the Latin Mass are not smiling at you and hugging you. At the same time, don’t stay in a novus ordo community and complain that not enough women wear chapel veils and the priest hardly uses any Latin. Each kind of community ministers to a certain personality type of Catholic. 

You have to honestly answer, for yourself, what type of Catholic personality you are, and then make your decision. Just know that you will find devout, faithful, and Christ-centered people in both the Ordinary Form, and the Extraordinary Form. Turning one, or the other, into a group that you stereotype or judge is not a good sign that you have found Jesus. God bless and take care, Fr. Angel


Christians familiar only with the Christian West may be surprised to learn that Ash Wednesday and its customs exist only in the Western church. The Eastern churches have other ways of counting the days of Lent, and of beginning this Great Fast. Maronite Catholics start Lent on “Ash Monday.”

The Roman Catholic Church counts Holy Week as part of the Lenten Fast, but not the Sundays during the Lenten season. Therefore, in about the 8th Century, it was necessary to add four days to the beginning of Lent to bring the number of days up to the traditional 40. This was the origin of Ash Wednesday.

The Eastern Christian Churches (both Catholic and Orthodox) consider Great and Holy Week as a separate unit with its own Fasting and Abstinence requirements, not technically included in the Great Lent. Lent liturgically concludes on the evening of the 6th Friday of Great Lent, the vigil of Lazarus Saturday. The Saturdays & Sundays of the Great Fast are counted in the total of days, thus bringing the number up to 40, counted from Clean (Ash) Monday, the first day of Great Lent. 

For the Maronite Catholic Churches, Lent is an important time, a type of retreat when the faithful renew their baptism, by associating with Christ’s struggle. In commencing the Seasons on a Sunday, in the Maronite Church, the purpose is to have a tight calendar with no ‘empty’ days. For the Maronite Catholic Rite, the Season of Lent begins on the Sunday with the focus on the Gospel passage of the Wedding at Cana. It is followed immediately with Ash Monday, which officially begins the Season of Lent and fasting. 

In the Maronite Lectionary, the Sunday Gospel passages throughout Lent focus on the healing and forgiving powers of Jesus, a reminder that Lent is a time to transform one’s life, just as the water was changed to wine in the Sunday Gospel that marks the entry into the Lenten Season. It reminds the faithful of the eternal wedding feast they are called to through Christ’s Resurrection.

Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday for both Churches. In the Maronite lectionary Great Lent begins with a rigorous fast on Ash Monday while Holy Week provides liturgical experiences of the most sublime poetry, music, art and ritual.

mangoverde-conchile  asked:

Father Angel, just wondering can Pope Francis somehow change the vow of chastity that priests take on their ordination day and allow them to get married?? Or is this something that cannot be changed? God Bless!!

Hello,

Chastity=the virtue of keeping human sexuality in proper and healthy perspective according to human nature and God’s commands. Even married couples can exercise the “virtue of chastity.”

Celibacy=giving up marriage and being single. This is the promise that priests take. It is not a “vow of chastity.”

Pope Francis does not need to change any vows. The Catholic Church ALREADY has married priests.

The Catholic priests of the Anglican Ordinariate, as well as of the Byzantine, Ruthenian, Coptic, Armenian, Melkite, Chaldean, Maronite and other eastern rites already have a married priesthood, and have always had married priests.

The only Catholic priests who do not get married are the priests of the Roman or Latin rite. You are more familiar with the Latin rite priests, because of where you live in the world. Therefore, you think incorrectly that ALL Catholic priests take a promise of celibacy, which is not true.

To the question of whether Pope Francis could also allow the Latin-rite priests to get married, the answer is yes, he can. Now, in the modern mind, this sounds like a cute or nice idea, but it would be a disaster. 

This would be a very unwise and impractical decision, because Latin-rite Catholics have had an unmarried clergy for over 1,000 years. Latin rite Catholics DO NOT know the dynamics, economics, or spirituality of supporting a married priest, and his wife and children. They can talk the talk, but cannot walk the walk of doing for married priests what Eastern Catholics do for their priests.

God bless and take care, Fr. Angel