The Rites – Introduction

“… neither to his father nor mother, nor wife, nor friend, nor king will a Christian reveal those secrets of his soul which he now reveals to God and to you.  And if a surgeon wields his knife with great care and fear, in order to perform his necessary but dangerous incisions into the human body, then, of course, you must tremble and pray many times more that you will heal, and not kill, the immortal soul.” (Confession, p. 14)

The celebration of the sacrament takes various forms, depending upon which church you attend.  Individual rites often vary according to the degree of assimilation of Roman practices.  For example, the Maronite church– which never separated from Rome– uses the “Tridentine” rite.

The Byzantine churches– those that have been re-united with Rome– often incorporate traditionally Roman elements in their prayers and customs, but not always.  For example, some use the Roman form of absolution, others do not; some use confessionals, many do not.  Unfortunately, many Eastern Catholic Churches have been so decimated by wars and exile that many rites are not easily found except through attendance at the particular church or through ancient texts which may no longer be used in daily practice.

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2 Responses to The Rites – Introduction

  1. Brian Alford says:

    In this post, you mention that the Maronite Church, which never separated from Rome, uses the “Tridentine” rite. Does this mean that the Maronite Church actually uses the Extraordinary Form of the Sacrament of Penance in the Roman Rite? I seem to recall that Dr. Van Slyke has cautioned us from using the terminology of the Extraordinary Form as the “Tridentine” Rite. This may seem like a minor thing, but I think that it is important in this case so as to avoid any confusion. One with less background in theology might think that there is an Eastern Form of the sacrament which came from the Council of Trent or that there is another rite called the Tridentine rite, which, according to my understanding, is not correct.

    If I understand you correctly, it is very interesting, though, to hear that they use the Extraordinary Form of the Sacrament of Penance of the Roman Rite. If that is the case, is their practice to have the prayers in Latin or in the vernacular?

    • ajgerber says:

      I looked into this more– specifically, sitting down with a certain seminarian– and he qualified that for many of the Maronites they simply “do whatever”– but it is one of three things: the actual Tridentine Form from the 16th century, the Extraordinary form, or the Novus Ordo. But even then, the priest– I have been told– does what he wants and even adapting the rite to his liking. The seminarian noted that you just don’t know what you’re going to get. Is this allowed or is this a kind of “liturgical experiment” which the Roman rite encountered in the 1960-70s? I’m not sure. But there are ill-feelings among the Maronites that traditions that they did have in this sacrament are truly lost.

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