Western Rite or "Pre-Schism" Reconstructionism?
Subdn. Benjamin Andersen has made an excellent post out of comments posted by our friend, Fr. Matthew Thurman, on the Yahoo Western Rite Orthodoxy chat group. Someone asked about pre-Schism fasting rules, to which Fr. Matthew wisely broadened the discussion to the whole question of renovationism:
The logic goes that, somehow, everything in the Western Church before 1054 AD "counts" in the WR, but everything afterwards is "off limits" or "illegitimate." It's as if the mutual excommunications between the Pope and Ecumenical Patriarch (which were *personal* excommunications, not excommunications of entire Churches) somehow established this impenetrable barrier between the East and the West...[However,] There is the principle that liturgical devotional practices of the rite (including fasting) should not be a matter of historical reconstructionism, but following a living tradition.Subdeacon Benjamin added:
We are simply Orthodox Christians (because we believe the Orthodox Catholic Faith) who, with the blessing of the Church, worship, pray and live out our Christian existence according to the authentic and venerable traditions of the Western Church, as they have come down to us. That's it, and all of it. Let the great internet theologians say whatever they want; we're just here trying to live out our Christian lives, rejoicing in the communion of the Orthodox Catholic Church, and thankful for the gift of our Western Rite expression.The Orthodox Church did what She tells us She always does: baptizes acceptable parts of the culture in an area She is evangelizing. The Holy Synod of Russia, moreover, gave specific directions on the adaptation of the "Cranmerian" Liturgy of St. Tikhon for use within Orthodoxy (as did the Patriarch of Antioch). And with the case of the Liturgy of St. Gregory, nearly all the Mass originated pre-Schism in the first place.
This is stark contrast to either blindly accepting Protestant/Counter-Reformation piety, and choosing to revive some long-dead liturgy, according to the undocumented whims of lone figures here or there -- most of whom, as Subdn. Benjamin wrote, "are not actually Western Rite, and they have no experience of the worship and life of an actual Western Rite community." We accept the fulness of the Orthodox faith, and according to the Church, we express the fulness of that faith in our worship. We are brothers with every Byzantine Orthodox and long for the day we shall be united in faith with those who share our liturgies. It is not necessary either to be a Byzantine, nor an historical re-enactor to be Western Orthodox.
I end my post with the same words Subdn. Benjamin ended his: "Deo gratias!"