Saturday, May 25, 2013

Fr. Z Again: Contrasting Orthodox and Really Bad Catholic Liturgy

Fr. Z has posted a youtube video that ostensibly compares the modern Roman Rite with the Orthodox Byzantine liturgy. The video contrasts clips from the services for Great and Holy Friday in Christ the Savior Cathedral with clips from a "pontifical" Mass from the Archdiocese of LA.  It goes without saying that the video was intended as a polemical shot at the Romans. My guess is that Fr. Z saw it as reinforcing his longstanding crusade to restore dignity to the Western liturgy.

As for the video itself, it is grossly biased. On "our side" the producer shows one of the most solemn services of the year being done by the Patriarch of Moscow. And let's be frank here. Say what you will about the Russians, but they do know how to do liturgy right. For "their side" he chooses a liturgy in probably the worst run and most liberal diocese in North America. Not surprising the comments on Fr. Z's post reflect sadness and indignation at everything from the fact that such a liturgical travesty was possible in the Roman Church, to the obviously cherry picked scenes chosen for contrast.

I give it an A for propaganda and polemics. and an A+ for tragic comedy. But for fairness and accuracy it gets a C-. It would have been far better to contrast a typical OCA parish liturgy with a typical Novus Ordo Mass. Of course even that sort of comparison would likely have been jarring for many Catholics. The sad truth is that the once great Western Liturgical Tradition has been battered in the wake of Vatican II. That's not hyperbole or a polemical attack. It is simply an observation of fact. And to the extent that Fr. Z has posted this silly video to drive home the point, I can't argue with him.

I also note from one of the comments that apparently there is a companion video of the same sort which may be seen here.


Anonymous said...

I think a more interesting contrast would be an Orthodox Sarum Mass (or even Tridentine English Language Orthodox parish), since it should feel even more like "what we should be doing". In fact, if there was an Orthodox Western Rite parish nearby, I think that is where I would be going myself.

Ordo Antiquus said...

The original video of this "comparison" was actually produced by the Traditionalist Redemptorists (aka "Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer") and not by Orthodox polemicists. It was intended, not as a shot at the "Romans", but as a shot at the Novus Ordo by Trad Catholics.

M. Jordan Lichens said...

The Roman liturgy is not pontifical. It's from the Religious Education Congress. It's atrocious, as most everything LA does, but the video is a bit misleading.

Anonymous said...

"if there was an Orthodox Western Rite parish nearby, I think that is where I would be going myself."

Even with its artificially inserted epiclesis?

Germanus Strand said...

Are all orthodox western liturgies a "cut and paste" job? What of the Gallican rite or the Mozarabic? And... to chew on, how is it that the myriad of local services even exist if it were not for the influence/ insertion of other parts of services?

Anonymous said...

The video - according to the Ceremonial of Bishops in the revised Roman Rite - does present a pontifical mass (or as it is more commonly called today an episcopal liturgy), because any mass celebrated by a bishop - in the revised rite - is pontifical/episcopal by its very nature.