One of the beautiful things about Catholic liturgy is the variety of ways in which it is celebrated throughout the world.
Here I’m not thinking of the many changes that have taken place within the Roman Rite allowing us to celebrate the Eucharist in modern languages, and so on.
Rather, I’m thinking beyond the Roman Rite to the wide variety of rites that run parallel to it. I’m thinking of the Syrian Rite, Armenian, Maronite, Byzantine (including Ukrainian), Chaldean, Coptic, Ethiopian, and others.
An unfortunate thing is that in years, gone by, Catholics of the Roman Rite often look a very unhealthy approach to Catholics of any other rite.
I suppose it’s simply because the Roman Rite became so very large in terms of numbers of Catholics. And when we grow up having no exposure to other rites, we are inclined to think that the way we celebrate the Eucharist is the only way to do it.
BUT IN the long run, for all of us, that’s terribly provincial and ignorant.
For whatever reason, Catholics of the Roman Rite all too often gave the impression that they were the only proper Catholics, and looked with something like suspicion on Catholics of any other rite.
The fact is, of course, that the various Eastern rites are in every way as Catholic, ancient and legitimate as the Roman Rite. Some, you could argue, are more beautiful as well.
The variety of rites, or ways of celebration the Eucharist, stems from early centres of Christianity, such as Antioch, Alexandria and Rome. The influence of such centres was great, and the way in which they celebrated the Eucharist gradually became the norm for the surrounding areas.
In the Western part of the world, Rome and Milan were the original centres. Others sprang up in the course of time.
But the Roman way of celebration the Eucharist eventually crowded out everything else in the Western part of the Church, and that’s the way it is to the present day.
IN THE Eastern part of the world, however, a beautiful variety of rites still florishes. And, since Canada is made up of people from all over the world, we find many of these rites within our own country.
This is especially true of Western Canada, of course, where Catholics of various Eastern rites, particularly Ukrainian Catholics, are sometimes in the majority.
For Catholics of the Roman Rite, it would be a very good thing to take part in an Eastern liturgy from time to time.
We can become far too insulated for our good.
Western catholic reporter