Tuesday, March 11, 2008


There is a popular misconception about the Catholic Church among Catholics and non-Catholics alike. The assertion that any Catholic who is in communion with the Bishop of Rome is automatically a Roman Catholic is as ludicrous as calling the former Soviet Union Russia, or calling the United States Alaska. Those of us who have sunk our teeth a little deeper into Catholicism know better.

The Churches recognizing Pontifical authority do not always exercise the same liturgy and praxis that the western or Roman Rite implements. The Eastern Churches follow their own traditions, liturgies, phraseology, veneration, and even have their own patriarchs who govern over their respective Churches with Pontifical approbation under the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, while simultaneously recognizing the full and immediate authority of the Bishop of Rome.

I love the Eastern rite of the Catholic Church. It’s so much more mystical and intricate than the less absorbing (when compared to Eastern Catholics) Roman Rite. I feel the Mystery that Catholic worship is centered on much more palpable in Byzantine liturgical habitude, as well as a greater affinity with all things holy and Devine. Why can’t we Roman Catholics be more like our Eastern Catholic brethren?

Covering the historicity, commonalities, and differences between the Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Catholic Church can be a daunting task even the most au courant scholar would find formidable to negotiate. I will spread this subject matter over a series of posts that will (hopefully) help Catholic and non-Catholic know and understand more fully the fascinating dynamics energizing the Catholic Church from within.

Let me conclude this post with a Prayer To The Holy Spirit by St. Antiochus:

O Holy Spirit, most merciful Comforter: You proceed from the
Father in a manner beyond our understanding. Come, I
beseech You, and take up you abode in my heart. Purify
and cleanse me from all sin, and sanctify my soul.
Cleanse it from every impurity, water its dryness, melt
its coldness, and save it from sinful ways. Make me
truly humble and resigned, that I may be pleasing to
You, and that You abide with me forever. Most blessed
Light, most amiable Light, enlighten me. O rapturous
Joy of Paradise, Fount of purest delight, my God, give
yourself to me, and kindle in my innermost soul the
fire of your love. My Lord, instruct, direct, and
defend me in all things. Give me strength against all
immoderate fears and against despondency. Bestow upon
me a true faith, a firm hope, and a sincere and perfect
love. Grant that I always do your most gracious will.


ukok said...

Tom, I agree with you. I really do have a very fond affection for the Eastern Rite of the Catholic Church. It truly is beautiful. I think a lot of the problem that Catholics have in discussing this is that those who are a little 'uneducated' shall we say, automatically assume that when Catholic's mention the Eastern Rite of the Catholic Church, they are talking about converting to Eastern Orthodoxy!

Something else I find curious is that someLatin Rite Catholics have a tendency to be of the opinion that the Eastern Rite of the Catholic Church is somehow inferior.

Truth be told, in part I am a little envious at times of the beauty, mysticism and practices of our Eastern Catholic brothers and sisters.

However, I berate myself that this is largely to do with my lack in truly embracing my Catholicity in the 'where' of where I am now - where God would have me be at this moment in time.

Don't know if that makes any sense at all!

God Bless!

p.s. sometimes I just come here to listen to the music - I open your page and get on with whatever else I am doing - hope you don't mind :-)

p.p.s I'm listening to Jonathon & Alanis at the moment. Fabulous stuff!

ukok said...

Hey Tom, I just noticed you have another blog..is that for guys only or something?


I understand. I'm just nosey don't concern yourself that I snoop like a good un!

Adrienne said...

We have an Eastern Rite Church not too far from us. It is Ruthian and they use the Liturgy of St. John Chyrsostom that, I think, is very much like the Orthodox. I read once on their website (which is gone) that if you are planning on attending as an escape from the Novus Order – don’t bother. Seems we are not the only ones who would like a liturgy with a bit more beauty.
I’m not opposed to the Novus Order, but I could just weep when we are subjected to such horrible music when good music is available and recommended.

Adrienne said...

.....and, Ukok - I do the same thing you do with Tom's music:)

Tom in Vegas said...


First and foremost you (and Auntie A) are welcomed to this blog anytime time you want and as much as you please! Yes, I, too, love the music I have on and I can say this without any sense of narcissism because I did not write any of it. OUR fondness for this music is entirely to the credit of those who wrote it.

I LOVE my Roman Catholic tradition, but I do long for the mystery of the incomprehensible and the unimaginable that is accentuated in the Eastern rites. Especially, like Auntie A wrote, the music.

The second blog is still under construction and I have doubts as to wether I'll proceed with posting anything on it. If I do, you and Auntie A (Adrienne) are more than welcome to visit:0)

Auntie A-

I have also detected that same reluctance on behalf of Eastern Catholics to open their doors to just about anyone, especially towards other Catholics seeking asylum from the Novus Ordo. For example, Melkites ordain married men. But if you think you are going to find easy entrance and ordination into the Melkite tradition as a Roman Catholic, you're in for a shock.

Tracy said...

Very good post Tom!!

ukok said...

I just heard the strangest sound and thought,'that's unusual, this guy usually has such beautiful music playing when I visit'. Then I realised, I had three windows open and the music player was playing a different piece of music on each one of them!


Anonymous said...

Amen to this lovely prayer, which gives me so much solace tonight, I think I must've been directed to it.

And Samuel Barber's Agnus Dei. Holy mackerel --have I died and gone to Heaven?? (Imagine my husband's surprise!)

I am a R.C. who has balanced precariously on the edge of going to our little Syriac-Maronite church any number of times, perhaps because I well remember our 10:00 High Mass like it was yesterday, and Mass today bears no resemblance, but the problem is the Tabernacle. It's been a tough few years, trying to just embrace everything.. At any rate, I'll be interested in reading your posts on Eastern rites.

Kelly said...


Thank you for posting this beautiful prayer. The CEC commuion I have been in the last 4 years are as a group more drawn to the Eastern Rite than the Roman Rite. I could easily have looked to complete my faith formation in an Eastern Rite Catholic Church but I am still learning these differences and did not comprehend how those pieces fit together when I first started RCIA. Perhaps the Eastern would have been a better fit for me as my initial introduction to orthodox theology has been from an Eastern perspective. But for now I am simply overjoyed that I am entering the Catholic Church this Easter.

Tom in Vegas said...


I, too, feel the strong pull of the Eastern Catholic tradition but, like you, I'm content with just being a part of the Catholic tradition. Thank you for stopping by.

God bless you!! Welcome to His house!