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Author Topic: Why Western Rite Vs. Eastern Rite?  (Read 2139 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: January 26, 2012, 06:38:27 PM »

Why couldn't a parish do Western and Eastern Rite Liturgies?  I don't see why they are mutually exclusive.  It seems like it could be the best of both worlds.  (I don't mean combining the two rites into one liturgy.)
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« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2012, 07:21:01 PM »

There are some that do.
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« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2012, 08:33:44 PM »

If I'm not mistaken, Fr. Joseph Honeycut - a few years ago - on his podcast said that he occasionally does a western rite liturgy.  I don't know if this is at his parish or not, though.
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« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2012, 08:40:29 PM »

Isn't the ideal that the whole parish participates the same Eucharist? While I'm all for WRO I don't think it's an ideal situation that the parish is divided between Western and Eastern faithful. Looking the issue from that point of view maybe it could be said that bi-ritual parishes are not the ideal situation.
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« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2012, 08:51:06 PM »

Why couldn't a parish do Western and Eastern Rite Liturgies?  I don't see why they are mutually exclusive.  It seems like it could be the best of both worlds.  (I don't mean combining the two rites into one liturgy.)

Because a rite is a complete system of worship. Look at the Byzantine rite, the way the themes change from day to day, the tones from week to week, the cycle of feasts and fasts, the arrangements of the Scripture readings, etc. The Western rites encompass a different system entirely. Jumping from one to the other would undermine and detract from each rite rather than offering the best of both.
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« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2012, 09:44:52 PM »

Not trying to be snobby, but once you go Eastern Rite why would you want to celebrate the Eucharist anyway else?

Plus, this point is moot as the vast majority of Orthodox Christians only use the Eastern Rite.  That's what they know; why change it just so that they can see what the other side is doing?
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« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2012, 11:36:12 PM »

I attend an Eastern Rite parish.  I think its Liturgy is beautiful.  However, I sometimes get an itch for worship in a Western style.  I would rather go to an Orthodox parish where I could take the Eucharist than attend a Catholic or Anglican service.
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« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2012, 01:05:59 AM »

Not trying to be snobby, but once you go Eastern Rite why would you want to celebrate the Eucharist anyway else?

All languages might be beautiful and good but nothing can compete with native language.
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« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2012, 01:18:42 AM »

Not trying to be snobby, but once you go Eastern Rite why would you want to celebrate the Eucharist anyway else?

All languages might be beautiful and good but nothing can compete with native language.

But for many of us in the West (the majority here in the states) "Western-rite" is no more "native" to us than the Eastern-rite.
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« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2012, 01:33:02 AM »

Not trying to be snobby, but once you go Eastern Rite why would you want to celebrate the Eucharist anyway else?

All languages might be beautiful and good but nothing can compete with native language.

But for many of us in the West (the majority here in the states) "Western-rite" is no more "native" to us than the Eastern-rite.

Yes and no. The Byzantine liturgies translated into English are, for the most part, a clunky mess that don't really have the beauty and flow of the Anglican BCP and translations of the Sarum nor that of the original languages. I grew up aliturgical, myself, but I have yet to come across an Orthodox Liturgy or even Daily Prayers that captures the poetry of the Prayer Book (a few come close, only to throw one off with an unfortunately chosen word). One could take this either as a call for more Western Rite or for better translation of the Eastern, but the latter isn't likely to happen so long as the jurisdictions are disjointed and there's no central quality control center for a proper translation (a team of intercontinental [North America, UK, Australia] English native Orthodox scholars working in unison on the translation could probably do it, but we can't even get the jurisdictions on one continent to work together, let alone three).
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« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2012, 01:51:00 AM »

Not trying to be snobby, but once you go Eastern Rite why would you want to celebrate the Eucharist anyway else?

All languages might be beautiful and good but nothing can compete with native language.

But for many of us in the West (the majority here in the states) "Western-rite" is no more "native" to us than the Eastern-rite.

Yes and no. The Byzantine liturgies translated into English are, for the most part, a clunky mess that don't really have the beauty and flow of the Anglican BCP and translations of the Sarum nor that of the original languages. I grew up aliturgical, myself, but I have yet to come across an Orthodox Liturgy or even Daily Prayers that captures the poetry of the Prayer Book (a few come close, only to throw one off with an unfortunately chosen word). One could take this either as a call for more Western Rite or for better translation of the Eastern, but the latter isn't likely to happen so long as the jurisdictions are disjointed and there's no central quality control center for a proper translation (a team of intercontinental [North America, UK, Australia] English native Orthodox scholars working in unison on the translation could probably do it, but we can't even get the jurisdictions on one continent to work together, let alone three).

That they are better written/more poetic* doesn't make them any more 'native' to those of us who didn't grow up with them. As an individual with multiple English decrees, I think the King James version is one of the best things ever--but I know native speakers who didn't grow up to its rhythms who find it half-incomprehensible and I recognize that on certain points (the Wedding at Cana, Masoretic vs. Septuagint readings) I can't rely on it.

*I'm assuming you are correct on this for the sake of argument. The one time I attended a Western-rite liturgy I was so busy trying to figure out what was going on and where we were in the service I was in no position to be making stylistic judgments--which goes to my point. I've attended the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom in Greek, Slavonic, Spanish and Japanese and even if I didn't understand a word of what was being said, felt fully comfortable with knowing what was going on. I'm a Western convert, but the "Eastern-rite" is where I had my liturgical formation and it feels fully native to me.
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« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2012, 05:25:25 AM »

Yes and no. The Byzantine liturgies translated into English are, for the most part, a clunky mess that don't really have the beauty and flow of the Anglican BCP and translations of the Sarum nor that of the original languages.

Speak for yourself, good sir. I much prefer the Eastern Rite to the Western Rite, and find the East flows much better than any Western style liturgy I have been to, Roman, WRO, Episcopalian, Anglican, Lutheran, what have you. The Western styles are choppy, IMO (must stress that, IMO) whereas the Eastern is a smooth slide from start to finish. I was Roman before conversion too, at a Tridentine Mass parish, so the WR should be "native" to me, but I prefer the Eastern.

Now, I can understand and appreciate that others may prefer the Western Rite, and good for them, but to say the Eastern Liturgies are "a clunky mess that don't really have the beauty and flow of the Anglican BCP" as a fact is a mistake. A big one.

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« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2012, 05:57:51 AM »

Not trying to be snobby, but once you go Eastern Rite why would you want to celebrate the Eucharist anyway else?

All languages might be beautiful and good but nothing can compete with native language.

But for many of us in the West (the majority here in the states) "Western-rite" is no more "native" to us than the Eastern-rite.

I believe the situation is a little different here in Finland. Most of the Finns (~80-90%) are members of the Finnish Lutheran state church whose services are nowadays fairly High Church by Protestant standards and while most of the members are practically nominal they have still attended the services at some points of their life. So WR is a lot more familiar than ER to most of us. For me even the RC Tridentine low mass felt rather homely even though I hadn't never attended one and I didn't understand anything of what was going on whereas it took a lot longer time to get used to ER.
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« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2012, 05:58:38 AM »

LOL I apologize! Though I do hope we all understand that the "clunky mess" I was referring to was the translations of the Eastern Liturgy that have been made into English, and not the Eastern Liturgies themselves. Indeed, I have found more depth and beauty in St John Chrystostom's Liturgy than elsewhere- though I do occasionally wince when a particularly jarring word choice breaks me out of my revery. At the moment it is not something I worry about- all the poetic parts are in Greek at my local parish anyway (there are times I'd like to wring the office lady's neck for telling me when I first moved to town and called them up that it was 50/50- yeah, 50/50 spoken parts, I haven't heard an English Cherubic Hymn or Troparion of St Justinian the Emperor in forever!). But I have yet to sit through a service in English in any jurisdiction where everything fits perfectly.

Even the different prayer books get annoying in this respect- HTM reads fine until you scratch your head going "Why'd they choose that word?", the Daily Prayers on goarch.org are just... badly translated, Jordanville tries a little too hard, St Tikhon's doesn't try hard enough, SVS is almost as bad as goarch.org, and the Little Red Prayer Book is at least not as bad as the others but doesn't have the Precommunion Canon and main bulk of precommunion prayers. Don't get me wrong, I'd take any of them over the 1979 Episcopalian BCP, but the 1662 on the other hand was written at a time when English speaking people understood poetry.
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« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2012, 09:37:23 AM »

Not trying to be snobby, but once you go Eastern Rite why would you want to celebrate the Eucharist anyway else?

All languages might be beautiful and good but nothing can compete with native language.

You totally misunderstood what I wrote. I was referring to the Rite, not the language it was conducted in.  I prefer the Eastern Rite whether it's celebrated in English, Greek (most preferable), Slavonic, Romanian, Spanish, etc.
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« Reply #15 on: January 27, 2012, 10:05:44 AM »

Quote
But for many of us in the West (the majority here in the states) "Western-rite" is no more "native" to us than the Eastern-rite.

On the other hand, 22% of the US is Catholic, and Western Rite would be native to almost all of them.

Quote
Speak for yourself, good sir. I much prefer the Eastern Rite to the Western Rite, and find the East flows much better than any Western style liturgy I have been to, Roman, WRO, Episcopalian, Anglican, Lutheran, what have you. The Western styles are choppy, IMO (must stress that, IMO) whereas the Eastern is a smooth slide from start to finish. I was Roman before conversion too, at a Tridentine Mass parish, so the WR should be "native" to me, but I prefer the Eastern.

The Byzantine Rite may flow better, but it also never shuts up. There's something to be said for silence.
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« Reply #16 on: January 27, 2012, 11:26:34 AM »

Not trying to be snobby, but once you go Eastern Rite why would you want to celebrate the Eucharist anyway else?

All languages might be beautiful and good but nothing can compete with native language.

You totally misunderstood what I wrote. I was referring to the Rite, not the language it was conducted in.  I prefer the Eastern Rite whether it's celebrated in English, Greek (most preferable), Slavonic, Romanian, Spanish, etc.

No, you misunderstood me. Smiley I meant to compare rite with language. My native language is Finnish and it's special for me although every other language is equally beautiful and good. I believe the case is the same with different rites. For, say, Copts Coptic rite must be pretty special although they probably admit that all the other rites are equally beautiful and fitting ways to worship Our Lord. Same goes with Western people and WR. At least in cases that traditional WR is part of their culture. Since US has no ages old Western state church with traditional WR liturgy I don't think the situation is exactly the same as in Western Europe.

That's why some people might prefer WR over ER even though they might not have any problem with attending ER parish.
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« Reply #17 on: January 27, 2012, 03:33:35 PM »

Not trying to be snobby, but once you go Eastern Rite why would you want to celebrate the Eucharist anyway else?

All languages might be beautiful and good but nothing can compete with native language.

But for many of us in the West (the majority here in the states) "Western-rite" is no more "native" to us than the Eastern-rite.

I believe the situation is a little different here in Finland. Most of the Finns (~80-90%) are members of the Finnish Lutheran state church whose services are nowadays fairly High Church by Protestant standards and while most of the members are practically nominal they have still attended the services at some points of their life. So WR is a lot more familiar than ER to most of us. For me even the RC Tridentine low mass felt rather homely even though I hadn't never attended one and I didn't understand anything of what was going on whereas it took a lot longer time to get used to ER.

Has the Finnish Church made any attempt at introducing an Orthodoxized version of the Finnish Lutheran service?
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« Reply #18 on: January 27, 2012, 03:57:03 PM »

Not trying to be snobby, but once you go Eastern Rite why would you want to celebrate the Eucharist anyway else?

All languages might be beautiful and good but nothing can compete with native language.

But for many of us in the West (the majority here in the states) "Western-rite" is no more "native" to us than the Eastern-rite.

I believe the situation is a little different here in Finland. Most of the Finns (~80-90%) are members of the Finnish Lutheran state church whose services are nowadays fairly High Church by Protestant standards and while most of the members are practically nominal they have still attended the services at some points of their life. So WR is a lot more familiar than ER to most of us. For me even the RC Tridentine low mass felt rather homely even though I hadn't never attended one and I didn't understand anything of what was going on whereas it took a lot longer time to get used to ER.

Has the Finnish Church made any attempt at introducing an Orthodoxized version of the Finnish Lutheran service?
I would think such a move would be inviting all sorts of trouble that only a state with two state churches can have.
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« Reply #19 on: January 27, 2012, 04:41:20 PM »

Not trying to be snobby, but once you go Eastern Rite why would you want to celebrate the Eucharist anyway else?

All languages might be beautiful and good but nothing can compete with native language.

But for many of us in the West (the majority here in the states) "Western-rite" is no more "native" to us than the Eastern-rite.

I believe the situation is a little different here in Finland. Most of the Finns (~80-90%) are members of the Finnish Lutheran state church whose services are nowadays fairly High Church by Protestant standards and while most of the members are practically nominal they have still attended the services at some points of their life. So WR is a lot more familiar than ER to most of us. For me even the RC Tridentine low mass felt rather homely even though I hadn't never attended one and I didn't understand anything of what was going on whereas it took a lot longer time to get used to ER.

Has the Finnish Church made any attempt at introducing an Orthodoxized version of the Finnish Lutheran service?
I would think such a move would be inviting all sorts of trouble that only a state with two state churches can have.

That is quite possibly true.  I hadn't considered the politics involved.
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« Reply #20 on: January 27, 2012, 05:31:48 PM »

I think the issue for me is twofold.  First, the Eastern Rite comes from a different philosophical background than my culture.  It's like listening to liturgy in a second language that you can understand, but it will never be the same as listening in your own language.  I think this problem is part of why I get an itch to hear Western services.

Second, our translations in the Antiochian church are terrible.  The people who did them have no sense of English style.  Also, their language is archaic.  It sounds like a hack version of the KJV.  I went to an Anglo-Catholic church and I thought, "Wow, a liturgy can be done with good English style!"
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« Reply #21 on: January 27, 2012, 06:23:56 PM »

I think the issue for me is twofold.  First, the Eastern Rite comes from a different philosophical background than my culture.  It's like listening to liturgy in a second language that you can understand, but it will never be the same as listening in your own language.  I think this problem is part of why I get an itch to hear Western services.

Second, our translations in the Antiochian church are terrible.  The people who did them have no sense of English style.  Also, their language is archaic.  It sounds like a hack version of the KJV.  I went to an Anglo-Catholic church and I thought, "Wow, a liturgy can be done with good English style!"


What exactly do you mean when you say that "the Eastern Rite comes from a different philosophical background than my culture."
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« Reply #22 on: January 28, 2012, 12:37:02 AM »

I think the issue for me is twofold.  First, the Eastern Rite comes from a different philosophical background than my culture. 

That phrasing concerns me. My catechumanate and first years as an Orthodox Christian coincided with 4 years of graduate studies in Old English literature. This is the unadulterated heritage of Western Orthodoxy. And I did not see any 'philosophical differences'. Indeed my private studies of Orthodoxy and my academic studies of Old English fed directly into each other. It was a deep reading of the poem 'Christ I' for a paper within a couple of weeks of reading Vladimir Lossky's chapter on the Theotokos in his Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church which led to a major breakthrough in overcoming my Protestant issues with the Theotokos. That poem could be translated into modern English (or Greek or Slavonic) and dropped into Eastern-rite services around Nativity and you would never notice a break. Similarly, 'The Dream of the Rood' could be sung at the Matins of the Exaltation of the Cross and it would flow seamlessly.

So if there is a 'different philosophical background' for the modern Western rite, I have to join James in asking where it came from--and why that would be a good thing?
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« Reply #23 on: January 28, 2012, 02:12:51 AM »

Don't Western and Eastern Christians have different philosophical approaches?  If not, I've been mislead since the time I was inquiring.  Common Ground explicitly says they do.  If they do have different philosophical approaches, than it would be rather surprising if their liturgies don't reflect it.

I was discussing this issue with someone who attends a Western Rite parish.  He said, "My priest says that some people are linear thinkers and some are circular thinkers."  In context, he was saying the Western Rite people are linear thinkers and the Eastern Rite people are circular thinkers.  These differences are philosophical in nature.
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« Reply #24 on: January 28, 2012, 02:23:15 AM »

Not trying to be snobby, but once you go Eastern Rite why would you want to celebrate the Eucharist anyway else?

All languages might be beautiful and good but nothing can compete with native language.

But for many of us in the West (the majority here in the states) "Western-rite" is no more "native" to us than the Eastern-rite.

I believe the situation is a little different here in Finland. Most of the Finns (~80-90%) are members of the Finnish Lutheran state church whose services are nowadays fairly High Church by Protestant standards and while most of the members are practically nominal they have still attended the services at some points of their life. So WR is a lot more familiar than ER to most of us. For me even the RC Tridentine low mass felt rather homely even though I hadn't never attended one and I didn't understand anything of what was going on whereas it took a lot longer time to get used to ER.

Has the Finnish Church made any attempt at introducing an Orthodoxized version of the Finnish Lutheran service?

Nope. In Finland Orthodoxy has traditionally been an ethic religion of Karelians so there was no need for WR. IIRC, there were few attempts to "Finnishize" i.e. Lutheranize (spoken liturgy, general confession etc.) ER at some point but fortunately I believe these were just individual attempts and they were ceased rather quickly.
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« Reply #25 on: January 28, 2012, 03:04:26 AM »

Don't Western and Eastern Christians have different philosophical approaches?  If not, I've been mislead since the time I was inquiring.  Common Ground explicitly says they do.  If they do have different philosophical approaches, than it would be rather surprising if their liturgies don't reflect it.

Well, Orthodox Christians and non-Orthodox Christians certainly have different philosophical approaches--and yes those are reflected in their liturgies (or in some cases lack thereof), but I'm drawing a blank on an instance where a Western Orthodox Christian would be in synch with Western non-Orthodox but out of synch with the Eastern Orthodox--and that would be considered a good thing. By which I mean, I've certainly encountered examples--indeed, I've been one myself--where a convert had prejudices, preconceptions, or patterns of thought from their non-Orthodox background that need adjustment as they seek conform themselves to the mind of the Fathers. But I've seen that with Eastern converts (former Soviet atheists, a Pakistani Muslim, and a Taiwanese 'Buddhist') just as much as with Western converts--that's just part of the conversion process.

I hadn't previously heard of the book Common Ground or its author, so I can't really address how it may or may not relate to what I'm saying/asking.


Quote
I was discussing this issue with someone who attends a Western Rite parish.  He said, "My priest says that some people are linear thinkers and some are circular thinkers."  In context, he was saying the Western Rite people are linear thinkers and the Eastern Rite people are circular thinkers.  These differences are philosophical in nature.

I'm sorry but with all due respect to his priesthood, that statement seems too simplified and overgeneralized to be any use at all. I find St. Athanasius and St. John of Damascus to be very linear thinkers. And contrariwise, the first Old English devotional piece I mentioned ("Christ I") is very circular in its thought; I remember that was a major component of my analysis of the poem--the way it was structured as a series of circles between Christ and the Theotokos.
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« Reply #26 on: January 28, 2012, 03:59:26 AM »

Don't Western and Eastern Christians have different philosophical approaches?  If not, I've been mislead since the time I was inquiring.  Common Ground explicitly says they do.  If they do have different philosophical approaches, than it would be rather surprising if their liturgies don't reflect it.

Common Ground...it's good in so far as it's dealing with non-Orthodox Western Christians, but Orthodoxy itself is communal and relational, no matter the Rite. The understandings of "Tradition" as espoused in the first few Chapters is limited to Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. The approach to the Faith is the same in all of Orthodoxy; encompassing, relational, and, ultimately, catholic. The book was meant to be a bridge of understanding between non-Orthodox American Christianity and Orthodoxy, not really between Western and Eastern Orthodoxy.

Having said that, there is a difference between Eastern and Western expressions of faith. Not too different...sort of hard to put into words. I actually think the linear v. circular thinking is rather apt, but can't say way. They feel like siblings. I'm not exactly like any of my sisters but a stranger could tell we're related. That's how the Western Liturgy, prayers, and culture seem to me. (Keeping in mind my experience with WRO is limited).
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« Reply #27 on: January 30, 2012, 04:26:45 AM »

I think the issue for me is twofold.  First, the Eastern Rite comes from a different philosophical background than my culture. 

That phrasing concerns me. My catechumanate and first years as an Orthodox Christian coincided with 4 years of graduate studies in Old English literature. This is the unadulterated heritage of Western Orthodoxy. And I did not see any 'philosophical differences'. Indeed my private studies of Orthodoxy and my academic studies of Old English fed directly into each other. It was a deep reading of the poem 'Christ I' for a paper within a couple of weeks of reading Vladimir Lossky's chapter on the Theotokos in his Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church which led to a major breakthrough in overcoming my Protestant issues with the Theotokos. That poem could be translated into modern English (or Greek or Slavonic) and dropped into Eastern-rite services around Nativity and you would never notice a break. Similarly, 'The Dream of the Rood' could be sung at the Matins of the Exaltation of the Cross and it would flow seamlessly.

So if there is a 'different philosophical background' for the modern Western rite, I have to join James in asking where it came from--and why that would be a good thing?

Thanks for mentioning those Old English works - I hadn't read them before this.   
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« Reply #28 on: February 04, 2012, 05:48:10 PM »

Why couldn't a parish do Western and Eastern Rite Liturgies?  I don't see why they are mutually exclusive.  It seems like it could be the best of both worlds.  (I don't mean combining the two rites into one liturgy.)



More likely, there is no Eastern vs Western Rite. Just slight differences in the way Liturgy is proceeded.
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« Reply #29 on: February 04, 2012, 09:29:20 PM »

Why couldn't a parish do Western and Eastern Rite Liturgies?  I don't see why they are mutually exclusive.  It seems like it could be the best of both worlds.  (I don't mean combining the two rites into one liturgy.)



More likely, there is no Eastern vs Western Rite. Just slight differences in the way Liturgy is proceeded.
Slight?
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