Few parishes make use of incense. Our priests often do not have the beautiful vestments that our Latin Rite permits, or, show a disregard for (or were never taught in the first place) the correct vestments to be used, i.e. wearing blue for Marian feasts is not permitted in the Latin Rite. Often, liturgies are truncated because it "takes to much time" to do all the extra things that make the Roman liturgy beautiful. Too often, devotions such as benediction or adoration are pushed into the background, and novenas which used to be said throughout churches (including my parish were I grew up at) are now unfortunately forgotten by the laity. Instead, we now have a decent chance, in the US, of walking into a Roman Catholic church and finding that the liturgy is quasi-Protestant where the Propers for Mass aren't used, extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist are plentiful, the dress of the laity is not becoming of a wedding banquet (which the Mass actually is; the Bridegroom has come to consummate His covenant [His death on the Cross] with His Bride, the Church), and the homilies are banal and often forget to mention, expound, or even acknowledge true Catholic teaching on a myriad of subjects. As the 20th century theologian Dietrich von Hildebrand said, "The new liturgy [can] threaten to frustrate the confrontation with Christ, for it discourages reverence in the face of mystery, precludes awe, and all but extinguishes a sense of sacredness."
|Divine Liturgy celebrated at a Ukrainian Catholic Church|
If you recall, earlier this month I made a post about the Divine Liturgy I attended for the Vigil of the Feast of the Theophany (Epiphany) at the local Ruthenian Catholic church. It was beautiful. And I soon found out that the Latin Rite has the same blessings and devotions for this feast as the Byzantine Rite does, albeit expressed in different ways. The Latin Rite also features blessed chalk on this feast day, as well as blessings for the gifts that the Magi actually brought to the Christ Child. So if you have some gold watches or rings, you can get those blessed on the Epiphany. However, my church did none of these blessings. In fact, I'm not sure if any of the churches in my area did this for the Epiphany. My question is, why do we have to abandon traditions such as these? Who thought it was a good idea to deprive my generation of the beautiful expressions of faith made manifest in the Roman Church, and substitute it with vapid hymnals, ugly churches which do not evoke a sense of the sacred and of transcendence, and abuses such as liturgical dancing (which still happens at a friend's geographical parish) and families standing around the altar during the consecration? Whoever thought these were good ideas are probably the people that are OK with Mass being said on a card table in a living room while the laity self-communicate and a chapel with an altar attached to the building they are in goes unused. (Yes, this has happened to me, unfortunately.)
|Perhaps another location would've been better?|
The second thing that made this whole disconnect with tradition apparent to me, was a news item I saw earlier this week concerning the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church of the Antiochene (or West Syrian) Rite. On January 23rd, Pope Francis established the first Syro-Malankara Catholic eparchy outside of India, which is to be called the Eparchy of St. Mary, Queen of Peace, of the United States of America and Canada. This is now the only eparchy in the Americas, and will serve nearly 12,000 faithful, which will be based at St. Vincent de Paul Cathedral in Elmont, New York. You can see pictures and video of the inauguration of the new eparchy here. As I scrolled through the pictures and watched the video, I was amazed at the beauty of the liturgy. The priests and bishops were dressed very ornately, as their liturgical tradition provides, and the laity were joining their voices together in the hymns and songs of their tradition.
|Inauguration of the new Syro-Malankara Catholic Eparchy in the US and Canada|
|Extraordinary Form of the Latin Mass|
Here's what I'm talking about. A very reverent Mass said in a hotel bar by people stranded during winter storm Jonas following the March for Life. This is what gives me hope for my fellow Roman Catholics:
Stranded Pro-Life Group Holds Ad Orientem High Mass in Motel Bar