On Local Rites and Uses

Continuing with my series on the Liturgy, this short post is first and foremost dedicated to all those whose life-long dream is the revival of local uses and rites within the Western (Catholic)  Church, especially those uses and rites which developed in the Middle Ages.  That includes me in that tiny effort of restoring legitimate liturgical pluralism and not that sort which allows abuse by abuse, conveniently divided by ethnic or occupational lines. 

There are many non-Roman liturgical uses and rites which are part and parcel of the liturgical heritage of Latin Rite Catholics everywhere, such as Sarum, Mozarabic, Ambrosian, Bragan, Lyonese, Parisian, etc.

The matter is what is the role that they should take in the liturgical scene of the Church today which is currently being assaulted by countless abuses. These liturgical rites and uses too have nourished the Faithful and their clergymen before a programme of liturgical uniformity was imposed upon them which to my mind is, while necessary in some places,  are nevertheless the cause of the disappearance of many good customs in others.

The disappearance of the Mozarabic and the Sarum Rites from many churches where they were formerly used are liturgical disasters. Now we barely or never see both of these rites celebrated in their churches,  and in the case of the former,  is celebrated in a reduced Novus Ordized version (same with the Ambrosian) , while the latter is practically extinct in the Catholic Church.

We should begin to recover them slowly, as these rites too adorn the Church with their splendid ceremonial that could very much rival the Roman Rite in some aspects.

I also say this clearly,  that while the Roman Rite (the Old one, that is) should be well-known and the introduction of the Roman books also legitimate in many areas,  nevertheless there should also be enclaves here and there for the local rites. They too are the jewels in that large crown which is the Catholic Church. To be Latin Catholic does not equal to eschewing the local rites and preferring the Roman Rite alone.

I must also say though, that I am not advocating a liturgical anarchy wherein ALL rites of local usage be restored. No,  what I mean here are those rites that are really of considerable divergence to the standard Roman Rite, of great cultural significance, and is widely used in one region could be restored and could coexist with the Roman Rite, and even have personal parishes erected for these rites should the need arise. 

But in all honesty I am not seeing any revival of the sort soon, and if I do,  I would probably see some committee would make sure that the rites would be “updated”. God works in mysterious ways indeed and He did not allow the traditional rites to lose its essence by the liturgical reforms of recent times.

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