Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

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Byzantines were not so dumb

August 9th, 2012, Promulgated by Bernie

The deterioration, degradation, dumb-ing down, localizing and secularizing of Catholic liturgy over the last 45 years, in the Rochester diocese, in the United States, and indeed throughout much of the world, has nearly destroyed the unity of the Church. ┬áThis conclusion (mine and others) came to mind this morning as I read the following paragraph in “Byzantine Theology: historical trends and doctrinal themes” by John Meyendorff.

“In Eastern Christendom, the Eucharistic liturgy, more than anything else, is identified with the reality of the Church itself, for it manifests both the humiliation of God in assuming mortal flesh, and the mysterious presence among men of the eschatological kingdom. It points at the central realities of the faith not through concepts but through symbols and signs intelligible to the entire worshiping congregation. This centrality of the Eucharist is actually the real key to the Byzantine understanding of the church, both hierarchical and corporate; the Church is universal, but truly realized only in the local Eucharistic assembly, at which a group of sinful men and women becomes fully the people of God. This Eucharistic-centered concept of the Church led the Byzantines to embellish and adorn the sacrament with an elaborate and sometimes cumbersome ceremonial, and with an extremely rich hymnography, in daily, weekly, paschal, and yearly cycle besides the sacramental ecclesiology implied by the Eucharist itself, these hymnographical cycles constitute a real source of theology. For centuries the Byzantines not only heard theological lessons and wrote and read theological treatises; they also sang and contemplated daily the Christian mystery in a liturgy, whose wealth of expression cannot be found elsewhere in the Christian world. Even after the fall of Byzantium, when Eastern Christians were deprived of schools, books, and all intellectual leadership, the liturgy remained the chief teacher and guide of Orthodoxy (‘right’ doctrine and ‘right’ practice). Translated into the various vernacular languages of the Byzantine world–Slavic, Georgian, Arabic, and dozens of others–the liturgy was also a powerful expression of unity in faith and sacramental life.”

The centrality of the Eucharist and its power to catechize has not been lost on the liberal clergy and liturgists. They, however, have used the Eucharist to destroy unity and undermine orthodoxy (‘right’ teaching; ‘right’ belief) by introducing never ending changes and ‘creative’ and heterodox local practices in order to teach a new religion, a religion that continues to wander ever farther from the Incarnate Son of God and His Church.

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