American Catholics dissatisfied with the post-Vatican II modern liturgy are increasingly moving to Eastern-Rite parishes where the liturgy closely resembles Eastern Orthodoxy, reports the New Oxford Review magazine (October).
Eastern Rite Catholic parishes originated in Eastern European and other non-Western countries that kept their own cultural traditions and liturgies, such as icon veneration, while maintaining loyalty to the pope. There are approximately 500,000 Eastern Rite or Byzantine Catholics in the U.S. Most of the Catholics moving over to the Eastern Rite churches complain that the “Roman Rite” has become too secularized, de-emphasizing traditional practices, such as confession and the Rosary.
Yet such Catholics don’t want to convert to Eastern Orthodoxy or take the anti-Vatican II position of many traditionalists who have gravitated to the Latin Masses now permitted in many dioceses. Patrick Madrid writes that the “Eastern Rite’s ancient expression of the Catholic faith is attractive to Catholics who hunger for contact with the holy mysteries of the faith.
Many, perhaps most, of the Roman Rite Catholics I know who attend a Byzantine Rite parish do not seek to change rites canonically. Rather, they register at a Byzantine parish and remain in the Roman Rite. The numbers are still small, considering the Catholic population in the U.S., but the trend seems to be growing.”
(New Oxford Review, 1069 Kains Ave., Berkeley, CA 94706)