Sunday, October 07, 2007

Musings about the Liturguical changes

Keep in mind that the promulgation and the changes with it are entirely an act of our hierarchs who drove the project, received approval from Rome, and mandated it. While various individuals have had a hand in the translations, the choices of rubrics to follow, and other decisions, the ultimate decision squarely rests with our hierarchy, period. If the Hierarchs had disagreements with those whom they had solicited input, I would gather the Hierarchs made the final call.

We, the faithful are left with a predicament, do we stay faithful, obedient yet voiceless about the changes and accept what our hierarchs have promulgated, without questioning? Do we leave our heritage for another church, which may have other problems, but with relatively intact liturgy? Or do we stay and question our bishops through letters, discussion and other means, making our voices heard?

If we choose to leave, our voices will have less impact on the Hierarchy, unless in large enough numbers, which surely would mean the demise of the Ruthenian Church in America. Do we love the Divine Liturgy or do we love our parishes (and our history)? We can love both only if we stay.

If we choose to stay, but just follow along without voicing displeasure with the translation, we are essentially ratifying their decision, whether we agree with the decisions or not. Again though we must ask ourselves, are we there for the Divine Liturgy or the parish family?

This brings us to choice number three, to stay and to voice displeasure with translation and rubrics, that are less in line with the other Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches, in a hope of guiding our church through this troubled period.

I say this after having spent an wonderful, introspective weekend at Holy Resurrection Monastery where all the litanies are sung, the translations are more "liturgical" (no P.C. stuff, thank you). While they (HRM) are now under the omophor of the Romanian Catholic Eparchy, I still do feel a connection with them as a Rusyn Catholic in the Van Nuys Eparchy since they had a similar challenge before them a few years ago prior to the changes in the Divine Liturgy.

Throughout all this, I have deliberately not mentioned the music, Which I do find is a POSITIVE change from the Hierarchical mandate of the 1965 books wherein the music settings were grossly simplified (like so much in America). While much has been written debating the settings of the music, many of those issues have boiled down to the translation being somewhat less than poetic and not fitting to anything but the simplified forms of the melodies.

As to some of the claims that not all liturgies have been restored, the service of Matins has been restored so far as Music and text.

Again just as with Vespers, Matins and the Hours, it remains for our Hierarchs to lead with proper parochial instructions to only use vespers un the evenings and restore Matins on Sunday mornings. Perhaps at times, we all suffer from the common malady of the modern computer literate generation in desiring a[i]ll things[/i] to be instant. The positive changes to the Divine Liturgy will come, but at the same human pace that change has always come through the millenia, slowly.

Quite literally, my worthless opinion,


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