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           May 29, 2013

 

 

III. Liturgical Renewal

 

What does the Church teach us about how to respect and develop our traditions “organically”?

Does authentic renewal mean adding elements from outside our tradition, for example from the Latin tradition? Or does it mean allowing the Chaldean tradition to grow from within, and expand in its own way? Which form of “renewal” is correct in the Chaldean Church: the Latinization that occurred due to a misunderstanding of the Second Vatican Council, or the Reformed Chaldean Mass of 2006?

Eastern Code of Canon Law, 1990:

Canon 40 - 1. Hierarchs who preside over Churches sui iuris and all other hierarchs are to see most carefully to the faithful protection and accurate observance of their own rite, and not admit changes in it except by reason of its organic progress, keeping in mind, however, mutual goodwill and the unity of Christians.

The Second Vatican Council’s Decree on the Catholic Eastern Churches, 1964:

5. All members of the Eastern Churches should be firmly convinced that they can and ought always to preserve their own legitimate liturgical rites and ways of life, and that changes are to be introduced only to forward their own organic development. They themselves are to carry out all these prescriptions with the greatest fidelity. They are to aim always at a more perfect knowledge and practice of their rites, and if they have fallen away due to circumstances of times or persons, they are to strive toreturn to their ancestral traditions. (See The Holy See’s document Instruction for the Application of the Liturgical Prescriptions in the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, 1996)

12. The Council specifies that changes in the rites and disciplines of these Churches are not admitted except by reason of their own organic progress and adds that whenever they have fallen short, due to circumstances of time or persons, they are to strive to return to their ancestral traditions.

The Holy Father John Paul II sees in this a "symbol of the firm attitude held by the Apostolic See, that the Council so efficiently expressed by asking the Eastern Churches in full communion with it to have the courage to rediscover the authentic traditions of their own identity, restoring the original purity where necessary."

The organic progress, in every Church sui iuris, implies taking into account first of all the roots from which the heritage of these Churches was initially developed, mainly in Jerusalem, Alexandria, Antioch, Constantinople, Armenia, and in the ancient empire of Persia; and secondly, the manner in which such traditions were transmitted, adapting to the various circumstances and places but maintained in a coherent, organic continuity.

To explain this principle it serves to mention an exhortation of Pope Paul VI to the members of the Commissions encharged with preparing the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches. Evoking the double scope of the future Code (faithful to the traditions and in view of the demands of our world), he observed how in presenting new things it is necessary to pay attention to take sufficiently into account the system of the transmitted heritage. Any renewal, in fact, should be coherent and agree with sound tradition, in such a way that the new norms do not appear as an extraneous body forced into an ecclesiastical composite, but blossoming as though spontaneously from already existing norms.

 

What does the Church teach us about the particularities of our Eastern church-buildings?

Is the Sanctuary meant to be open to the public or kept as a holy place? Are the elements of the Bema and Veil to be abandoned as old-fashioned or re-established?

The Holy See’s document Instruction for the Application of the Liturgical Prescriptions in the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, 1996:

104. The sanctuary is separated from the nave by a veil, gate or iconostasis, because it is the most sacred place: it contains the altar on which the Divine Liturgy is celebrated and the Oblation is offered. Only those who are entrusted with the sacred ministry can enter the sanctuary to complete the sacred acts.

Therefore, it is important that in restoring old churches or constructing new ones, those responsible should attentively study the symbology expressed in them, while taking into account and foreseeing the possibility of re-establishing the usage in conformity to their proper tradition.

 

What does the Church teach us about the celebration of Mass?

Is the Chaldean celebrant supposed to face the people during the Eucharistic Prayer, or does the Church ask him to pray in the same direction as the people, facing the Cross, with the people?

The Holy See’s document Instruction for the Application of the Liturgical Prescriptions in the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, 1996:

107. This rich and fascinating interpretation also explains the reason for which the celebrant who presides in the liturgical celebration prays facing the east, just as the people who participate. It is not a question, as is often claimed, of presiding the celebration with the back turned to the people, but rather of guiding the people in pilgrimage toward the Kingdom, invoked in prayer until the return of the Lord.

Such practice, threatened in numerous Eastern Catholic Churches by a new and recent Latin influence, is thus of profound value and should be safeguarded as truly coherent with the Eastern liturgical spirituality.

Is it allowed for the deacons, choir or people to sing a hymn during the Eucharistic prayer, or must all be silent and listening to the priest who is praying? Is this only a rule for the Latin Church or does it apply to all Churches?

 

Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, 1963:

3. Among these principles and norms there are some which can and should be applied both to the Roman rite and also to all the other rites. The practical norms which follow, however, should be taken as applying only to the Roman rite, except for those which, in the very nature of things, affect other rites as well.

 

The Congregation for Divine Worship’s Instruction “RedemptionisSacramentum,” On Certain Matters to be Observed or to be Avoided Regarding the Most Holy Eucharist, 2004.

53. While the Priest proclaims the Eucharistic Prayer there should be no other prayers or singing, and the organ or other musical instruments should be silent, except for the people’s acclamations that have been duly approved, as described below.

 

The Diocesan Stand

I) In Regard to our Authentic Spiritual Heritage

We, the diocesan Chaldean clergy, hereby pledge our faithfulness to our own Eastern Chaldean spiritual and liturgical heritage and identity, with its scriptural and apostolic core, as eloquently formulated and expressed through the Aramaic language and culture, this being done in accord with the directives of the Catholic Church as mandated in its Canons and Magisterial Documents.

Canon 40 - 3. Christian faithful are also to foster an understanding and appreciation of their own rite, and are held to observe it everywhere unless something is excused by law.

 

Decree on the Catholic Eastern Churches (Vatican II):

4. Finally, each and every Catholic, as also the baptized members of any non-Catholic church or community who come to the fullness of Catholic communion, must retain each his own rite wherever he is, and follow it to the best of his ability, without prejudice to the right of appealing to the Apostolic See in special cases affecting persons, communities or districts.

5. All members of the Eastern Churches should be firmly convinced that they can and ought always to preserve their own legitimate liturgical rites and ways of life, and that changes are to be introduced only to forward their own organic development. They themselves are to carry out all these prescriptions with the greatest fidelity. They are to aim always at a more perfect knowledge and practice of their rites, and if they have fallen away due to circumstances of times or persons, they are to strive to return to their ancestral traditions.

 

II) Realized Ecclesial Unity

 

We hereby proclaim our obedience to the will of the Lord regarding his Church as being one Church whose visible head is Peter and his successors. We were and remain guided by the Canons relevant to this subject, as well as to the directives of the Holy Father. Furthermore, we present, to everyone concerned, our testimony to the factuality of the events that developed in our parishes and communities during the past a few years:

We witness that it has been a matter of religious conscience that has recently brought a whole group of Assyrian faithful, most of them formerly belonging to the Assyrian Church of the East, to the Chaldean Catholic Church. Our Diocese obeyed the mandate of the Lord and the guidance of the Church, and thus received the new brothers and sisters in faithfulness and with open hearts.

Canon 35 - Baptized non-Catholics coming into full communion with the Catholic Church should retain and practice their own rite everywhere in the world and should observe it as much as humanly possible. Thus, they are to be enrolled in the Church sui iuris of the same rite with due regard for the right of approaching the Apostolic See in special cases of persons, communities or regions.

Canon 896 - Whether it is a group or an individual, no obligation except what is necessary can be imposed on the Christian faithful who have been baptized in non-Catholic Churches or ecclesial communities and who ask of their own to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church.

Canon 897 - A member of the Christian faithful of an Eastern non-Catholic Church is to be received into the Catholic Church with only the profession of the Catholic faith, after doctrinal and spiritual preparation according to each one's condition.

Canon 898 -
1.
Besides the Roman Pontiff, the patriarch with the consent of the synod of bishops of the patriarchal Church, or the metropolitan of a metropolitan Church sui iuris with the consent of the council of hierarchs, can receive a bishop of an Eastern non-Catholic Church into the Catholic Church.

2.
The right of receiving anyone else into the Catholic Church pertains to the hierarch of the place, or if the particular law provides for it, also to the patriarch.

3.
The right of receiving individual laypersons into the Catholic Church belongs also to the parish priest, unless this is forbidden by particular law.

Canon 899 - The cleric of an Eastern non-Catholic Church entering into full communion with the Catholic Church can exercise his own sacred order according to the norms established by the competent authority; a bishop cannot validly exercise the power of governance except with the consent of the Roman Pontiff, head of the college of bishops.

We testify that the whole merging group, i.e., Bishop Bawai Soro along with four priests, dozens of deacons and thousands faithful – we mean those who persisted in staying within the structure of our parishes and Diocese – have shown integrity of the Catholic faith and honesty in fulfilling their personal duties, each in his or her own rank or position, and are today fully integrated into the structure of our parishes and Diocese.

We further proclaim that obedience to the grace of God is superior to any other local, partisan, or personal concern. We cannot in good conscience make the grace of God, touching the hearts and minds of people, to wait indefinitely for our approval's convenient time. We follow the path of the Holy Father, who in February 2010 encouraged the Catholic Conference of Bishops of England and Wales to accept the Anglican Converts with “a warm and open-hearted welcome … as a blessing for the entire Church.” Indeed this is a matter of conscience, canonicity and justice.

 

III) Regarding Liturgical Application

 

Prompt Implementation of Canonical Liturgical Reform

Diocesan Stand: We declare our collective and personal adherence to the officially and canonically formulated Chaldean Missal, approved by the Holy See and the Holy Chaldean Synod, and promulgated by His Beatitude Mar Emmanuel III Delly, Chaldean Patriarch of Babylon, with a fixed date for implementation (i.e., January 6, 2007) of which we are now celebrating the happy fulfilment, encouraging all dioceses to share in the bounty without delay.

The Urgency to Implement the Liturgical Reform

Liturgy being the heart of our spiritual life, and the Eucharistic Qurbana being the core of Christian Liturgy, we certainly must present to our faithful all that is needed for your understanding of this fundamental act of worship and your participation in it, for the following reasons:

1. For dogmatic correctness: Without judging anyone, and with total due respect to the good intention of other Chaldean hierarchs, priests, ministers and faithful, we cannot neglect the objective fact of having some segments of the 1905 Missal, reproduced with minor modifications in 1971, as well as common practice, that are not in harmony with clear Catholic theology. For example, the hymn "Paghreh Da-Mshyha” is chanted to accompany the Presentation of the Gifts, its text being “the body of Christ and his precious blood are on the holy altar…,” before the elements of bread and wine are consecrated by the prayer of the anaphora.

2. In faithfulness to the command of the Lord: “Do this in memory of me.” Knowing that our Lord offered to the heavenly Father, in a manifest way, a “blessing” then a “thanksgiving,” asking us to do the same in his memory, so in a very similar manner in the Reformed Missal, we comply in full obedience, when we execute our Qurbana with our Mesopotamian apostolic anaphora, as restored to its original sections (Blessing-Thanksgiving-Memorial), reflecting the basic liturgical structure of the founding Supper of the Lord in a much adhesive manner.

3. In organic continuity with the Mesopotamian apostolic liturgical tradition: Architecturally adjusting our churches, most of all the sanctuary area, to be able to function in an eloquent expression of the scriptural way of worship, facing the central cross or Lord’s icon in the Presentation and Offering sections, and moving around to face the people when addressing them, in full adherence to the liturgical text and its meaning.

4. In compliance with the canons of the Church and the directives of the Holy See: With deep respect to all hierarchs, we claim humbly that our diocese intends to fully comply with the Law of the Catholic Church, as expressed in its canons and in the directives of the Holy See, and do it to the best of our collective ability. Indeed the Reformed Missal that we use, compared to the variety of local Missals in use at the present time, is the one with the approval of the Holy See, as requested by the Law of the Catholic Church:

Canon 657 - 1. The approval of liturgical texts, after prior recognitio of the Apostolic See, is reserved in patriarchal Churches to the patriarch with the consent of the synod of bishops of the patriarchal Church, in metropolitan Churches sui iuris to the metropolitan with the consent of the council of hierarchs; in other Churches this right rests exclusively with the Apostolic See, and, within the limits set by it, to bishops and to their legitimately constituted assemblies.

2. The same authorities are also competent to approve the translations of these books meant for liturgical use, after sending a report to the Apostolic See in the case of patriarchal Churches and metropolitan Churches sui iuris.

Canon 668 - 1. Divine worship, if it is done in the name of the Church by a person legitimately appointed for this and through an act approved by the authority of the Church, is called public; if not, it is called private.

2. For the regulation of divine public worship the competent authority is the one mentioned in canon 657, with due regard for canon 199, 1; no other person can add to, remove, or modify that which was established by this authority.

Canon 199 - 1. The eparchial bishop, as the moderator, promoter and guardian of the entire liturgical life in the eparchy committed to him, must be vigilant that it be fostered as much as possible and ordered according to the prescriptions and legitimate customs of his own Church sui iuris.

For further details, see the Instruction of the Holy See for the application of the Liturgical Prescriptions of the Code of Canons for the Eastern Churches (Vatican 1996, No. 107).

In regard to the directives see the Holy See’s document Instruction for the Application of the Liturgical Prescriptions in the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches:

 

http://www.ewtn.com/library/curia/eastinst.htm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

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